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[plangk] /plæŋk/
a long, flat piece of timber, thicker than a board.
lumber in such pieces; planking.
something to stand on or to cling to for support.
any one of the stated principles or objectives comprising the political platform of a party campaigning for election:
They fought for a plank supporting a nuclear freeze.
verb (used with object)
to lay, cover, or furnish with planks.
to bake or broil and serve (steak, fish, chicken, etc.) on a wooden board.
plunk (def 2).
walk the plank,
  1. to be forced, as by pirates, to walk to one's death by stepping off a plank extending from the ship's side over the water.
  2. to relinquish something, as a position, office, etc., under compulsion:
    We suspect that the new vice-president walked the plank because of a personality clash.
Origin of plank
1275-1325; Middle English planke < Old North French < Latin planca board, plank. See planch
Related forms
plankless, adjective
planklike, adjective
unplanked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for plank
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He slipped his arm off the plank and sank in the stream to the chin.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Then he drew himself upon his plank and swam, doubling his speed.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • He wheeled it up to the side door, an' put a plank over the steps, an' wheeled it right in.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • A plank is found infected with it, and the whole structure is devoted.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • He states that they pierced a plank, an inch thick, with a bullet made of mercury.

    The Field of Ice Jules Verne
British Dictionary definitions for plank


a stout length of sawn timber
something that supports or sustains
one of the policies in a political party's programme
walk the plank, to be forced by pirates to walk to one's death off the end of a plank jutting out over the water from the side of a ship
(Brit, slang) a stupid person; idiot
verb (transitive)
to cover or provide (an area) with planks
to beat (meat) to make it tender
(mainly US & Canadian) to cook or serve (meat or fish) on a special wooden board
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norman French planke, from Late Latin planca board, from plancus flat-footed; probably related to Greek plax flat surface


(transitive) (Scot) to hide; cache
Word Origin
C19: a variant of plant
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 plank

late 13c. (c.1200 as a surname), from Old North French planke, variant of Old French planche "plank, slab, little wooden bridge" (12c.), from Late Latin planca "broad slab, board," probably from Latin plancus "flat, flat-footed," from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta). Technically, timber sawed to measure 2 to 6 inches thick, 9 inches or more wide, and 8 feet or more long. Political sense of "item of a party platform" is U.S. coinage from 1848. To walk the plank, supposedly a pirate punishment, is first attested 1789 and most early references are to slave-traders disposing of excess human cargo in crossing the ocean.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for plank

plank 1


To do the sex act with or to; screw: had witless good fun with his children while his wife was out getting planked

[1970s+; origin unknown]

plank 2

Related Terms

walk the plank

plunk down

verb phrase

  1. To put down with a thud or crash; place decisively: an overstuffed chair some admirer had planked down next to the booth
  2. To pay money; put down or put up money; offer or bet money: planked down a cool $8,000,000/ plunked down $65,000

[1839+; fr the hard striking of the plank of a table]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with plank


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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