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[lang-kee] /ˈlæŋ ki/
adjective, lankier, lankiest.
ungracefully thin and rawboned; bony; gaunt:
a very tall and lanky man.
Origin of lanky
First recorded in 1660-70; lank + -y1
Related forms
lankily, adverb
lankiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lanky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We fixed upon Pierce to personate the ghost because he was tall and lanky.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • The lanky Sucatash looked at him askance, catching the note of sentiment.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • At the sight of their visitor's lanky form the child's face brightened.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • It's the name of that lanky old store-keeper who is always about the decks.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • There was no struggle: the lanky figure showed no maniacal fury.

British Dictionary definitions for lanky


adjective lankier, lankiest
tall, thin, and loose-jointed
Derived Forms
lankily, adverb
lankiness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for lanky

1630s, "straight and flat," used of hair, from lank + -y (2); sense of "awkwardly tall and thin" is first recorded 1818. Related: Lankiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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