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lank

[langk]
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adjective, lank·er, lank·est.
  1. (of plants) unduly long and slender: lank grass; lank, leafless trees.
  2. (of hair) straight and limp; without spring or curl.
  3. lean; gaunt; thin.

Origin of lank

before 1000; Middle English lanc, Old English hlanc; akin to Old High German hlanca loin, side. Cf. flank
Related formslank·ly, adverblank·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lank

Historical Examples

  • The trapper slapped his lank, leather-clad thigh in high approval.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Perhaps the good Samaritan was lean and lank, and found it hard to live.

  • Sim cowered in a corner of the box, with his lank fingers in his long hair.

  • The colonel looked at O'Malley's lank and bony frame and smiled.

  • George, who was big and lank, and truculent in appearance, nodded.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss


British Dictionary definitions for lank

lank1

adjective
  1. long and limp
  2. thin or gaunt
Derived Formslankly, adverblankness, noun

Word Origin

Old English hlanc loose

lank2

adjective, adverb
  1. Southern African informal a lot; a great deal

Word Origin

perhaps from Afrikaans lank long
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lank

adj.

Old English hlanc "loose and empty, slender, flaccid," from Proto-Germanic *khlankaz, perhaps from a root meaning "flexible" (cf. German lenken "to bend, turn aside," Old Norse hlykkr "bend, noose, loop"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn" (see link (n.)). "Some examples may be long adj. with unvoicing of g" ["Middle English Dictionary"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper