[ang-kuh l]
See more synonyms for ankle on
  1. (in humans) the joint between the foot and the leg, in which movement occurs in two planes.
  2. the corresponding joint in a quadruped or bird; hock.
  3. the slender part of the leg above the foot.

Origin of ankle

before 1000; Middle English ankel, enkel (cognate with Middle Low German, Dutch enkel, Old High German anchal, enchil, Old Norse ǫkkul); Middle English anclowe, Old English anclēow(e) (cognate with Middle Low German anclef, Dutch anklāw, Old High German anchlāo) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ankle

bone, talus, anklebone, tarsus, astragalus

Examples from the Web for ankle

Contemporary Examples of ankle

Historical Examples of ankle

  • In moving I had trodden on or touched the serpent with my foot, and it had bitten me just above the ankle.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • The ankle was small and curved like an axe handle and looked as tough.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • It nearly turned my ankle as I jumped on to it, but I hardly felt the pain.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • He entered and scuffled up the walk, ankle deep in fallen leaves.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • He bent again, and hid the glow of his pipe against his ankle.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for ankle


  1. the joint connecting the leg and the footSee talus 1
  2. the part of the leg just above the foot

Word Origin for ankle

C14: from Old Norse; related to German, Dutch enkel, Latin angulus angle 1
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 ankle

Old English ancleow "ankle," from PIE root *ang-/*ank- "to bend" (see angle (n.)). The modern form seems to have been influenced by Old Norse ökkla or Old Frisian ankel, which are immediately from the Proto-Germanic form of the root (cf. Middle High German anke "joint," German Enke "ankle"); the second element in the Old English, Old Norse and Old Frisian forms perhaps suggests claw (cf. Dutch anklaauw), or it may be from influence of cneow "knee," or it may be diminutive suffix -el. Middle English writers distinguished inner ankle projection (hel of the ancle) from the outer (utter or utward).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ankle in Medicine


  1. The joint between the leg and foot in which the tibia and fibula articulate with the talus.
  2. The region of the ankle joint.
  3. The anklebone.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.