View synonyms for flank


[ flangk ]


  1. the side of an animal or a person between the ribs and hip.
  2. the thin piece of flesh constituting this part.
  3. a slice of meat from the flank of an animal.
  4. the side of anything, as of a building.
  5. Military, Navy. the extreme right or left side of an army or fleet, or a subdivision of an army or fleet.
  6. Fortification.
    1. the right or left side of a work or fortification.
    2. the part of a bastion that extends from the curtain to the face and protects the curtain and the opposite face.
  7. Machinery. (on a screw thread or the like) either of the two vertical inclined surfaces between the crest and the root.

verb (used with object)

  1. to stand or be placed or posted at the flank or side of.

    Synonyms: border, skirt, edge, line

  2. to defend or guard at the flank.
  3. Military. to menace or attack the flank of.
  4. to pass around or turn the flank of.

verb (used without object)

  1. to occupy a position at the flank or side.
  2. to present the flank or side.


/ flæŋk /


  1. the side of a man or animal between the ribs and the hip
  2. (loosely) the outer part of the human thigh
  3. a cut of beef from the flank
  4. the side of anything, such as a mountain or building
  5. the side of a naval or military formation


  1. whenintr, often foll by on or upon to be located at the side of (an object, building, etc)
  2. military to position or guard on or beside the flank of (a formation, etc)
  3. military to move past or go round (a flank)

Discover More

Other Words From

  • un·flank verb (used with object)
  • well-flanked adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of flank1

before 1100; Middle English; late Old English flanc < Old French < Frankish; compare Old High German hlanca loin

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of flank1

C12: from Old French flanc , of Germanic origin

Discover More

Example Sentences

The toxins sink in to porous, easily detached hairs on the rat’s flanks.

With no limits atop the panels, Senate Democrats can languish in the middle flank of the dais for decades.

A forward in her early years, O’Hara is also adept in an advanced position on the flanks.

In many ways, the fight hasn’t been nearly what the left flank of the Democratic Party might have wanted — or what Kennedy’s GOP colleagues pretended it was.

One day, they all had a picnic on the scrubby flank of a hill, under a brutal sun.

From Eater

After two decades of dwindling influence, NATO is refreshed and energized by the growing threat on its eastern flank.

Marinate flank steak in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, oil, salt and pepper.

Then came accusations of centrism—now a dirty word in a party with an energized left flank.

The enemy effected and exploited a breach on the left flank, rendering the friendly positions untenable.

President Bush vetoed it, and Democrats relented in the face of outrage from their liberal flank.

Done, says he, why let fifty of our men advance, and flank them on each wing.

But one battalion was isolated on a spur, from which there seemed no way of escape save under a scorching flank fire.

He usually seizes his prey by the flank near the hind leg, or by the throat below the jaw.

Then came the turn of the Manchesters, left in the lurch, with their right flank hanging in the air.

It was a most difficult and dangerous operation, for at any moment the Archduke John might appear on the exposed right flank.


Discover More

More About Flank

What is a basic definition of flank?

A flank is space between the lowest rib and hip of an animal or person. To flank something means to stand at the side of something. In the military, a flank is a left or right side of an army or fleet of ships. Flank has several other senses as a noun and a verb.

The space on your torso between your lowest rib and your hip is called your flank. Animals like cows and horses also have sides referred to as flanks. If a slice of meat comes from this part of an animal’s body, it is a flank cut or flank steak.

  • Used in a sentence: The tree branch poked me in my left flank. 

More generally, a flank is the side of anything.

  • Used in a sentence: The ball bounced off the left flank of the house. 

In this sense, flank is used to mean to stand or be located at the side of something. A person or thing that flanks something is called a flanker.

  • Used in a sentence: Orange trees flanked both sides of the river.

Flank is used in a military sense to refer to the sides of an army. For example, if an army was lined up in rows of soldiers, the soldiers on either end of the rows would make up the army’s flank. An army’s flank is described with directional terms, such as left or right, or compass directions, that is, north, south, east, or west.

  • Used in a sentence: The left flank collapsed under the intense arrow fire. 

Flank is used in a similar sense as a verb to mean to attack or harass an army’s flank.

  • Used in a sentence: The Roman soldiers charged out of the woods and managed to flank the Greek army. 

Where does flank come from?

The first records of flank come from before the 1100s. It comes from the Old French flanc.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to flank?

  • flanker (noun)
  • unflank (verb)
  • well-flanked (adjective)

What are some synonyms for flank?

What are some words that share a root or word element with flank

What are some words that often get used in discussing flank?

How is flank used in real life?

The word flank often means a side of something or a side cut of meat.

Try using flank!

Which of the following words would most likely be used to describe a flank?

A. top
B. bottom
C. side