[ flangk ]
/ flæŋk /
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See synonyms for: flank / flanked / flanking on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to occupy a position at the flank or side.
to present the flank or side.
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Origin of flank

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


un·flank, verb (used with object)well-flanked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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.

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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

How to use flank in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flank

/ (flæŋk) /


Word Origin for flank

C12: from Old French flanc, of Germanic 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