- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- British slang a stupid person; idiot
- to cover or provide (an area) with planks
- to beat (meat) to make it tender
- mainly US and Canadian to cook or serve (meat or fish) on a special wooden board
- (tr) Scot to hide; cache
Word Origin and History for walk the 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.
Idioms and Phrases with walk the plank
walk the plank
Be forced to resign, as in We were sure that Ted hadn't left of his own accord; he'd walked the plank. This metaphoric idiom alludes to a form of execution used in the 17th century, mainly by pirates, whereby a victim was forced to walk off the end of a board placed on the edge of the ship's deck and so drown. [Second half of 1800s]
see walk the plank.