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verb (used with object)
  1. to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment.
  1. a blow given in spanking; a smart or resounding slap.

Origin of spank1

First recorded in 1720–30; imitative


verb (used without object)
  1. to move rapidly, smartly, or briskly.

Origin of spank2

First recorded in 1800–10; back formation from spanking
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spank

Historical Examples

  • By dint of diligent bailing they had forced their crazy dory, towed by the equally crazy “Spank Me Again,” to carry them home.

    Green Eyes

    Roy J. Snell

  • In the morning I met Mr. Spank waiting for me at the entrance, and very desirous to see me.

    Lorna Doone

    R. D. Blackmore

  • Just the night before the day of the Spank, Marthy had begun to teach her her religious education.

    The Confessions of a Daddy

    Ellis Parker Butler

British Dictionary definitions for spank


  1. (tr) to slap or smack with the open hand, esp on the buttocks
  1. a slap or series of slaps with the flat of the hand

Word Origin

C18: probably of imitative origin


  1. (intr) to go at a quick and lively pace

Word Origin

C19: back formation from spanking ²
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 spank


1727, possibly imitative of the sound of spanking. Related: Spanked; spanking. The noun is from 1785.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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