a sharp, hard, nonresonant sound, like that produced by two pieces of metal striking, one against the other: the clank of chains; the clank of an iron gate slamming shut.

verb (used without object)

to make such a sound.
to move with such sounds: The old jalopy clanked up the hill.

verb (used with object)

to cause to make a sharp sound, as metal in collision: He clanked the shovel against the pail.
to place, put, set, etc., with a clank: to clank the cell door shut.

Origin of clank

First recorded in 1605–15, clank is from the Dutch word klank sound
Related formsclank·ing·ly, adverbclank·ing·ness, nounclank·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for clanking

jangle, clash, bang, ring, bong, clink, resound, toll, reverberate

Examples from the Web for clanking

Historical Examples of clanking

  • From morning until night, rush'd down the clanking guillotine.

  • They had wrapped the links of the chain in grass and leaves, so that no clanking was heard.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • A wheezing and coughing and clanking of keys interrupted the proceedings.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Presently there came the gentlest of impacts and then a clanking sound.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Philip could hear no more for the puffing of the steam and the clanking of the chains.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for clanking



an abrupt harsh metallic sound


to make or cause to make such a sound
(intr) to move or operate making such a sound
Derived Formsclankingly, adverb

Word Origin for clank

C17: of imitative origin
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 clanking



1610s, perhaps echoic, perhaps a blend of clang (v.) and clink (v.), perhaps from a Low German source (cf. Middle Dutch clank, Dutch klank, Old High German klanc, Middle Low German klank, German Klang).



1650s, from clank (v.). Reduplicated form clankety-clank attested from 1895.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper