verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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

Nearby words

  1. flaneur,
  2. flange,
  3. flange coupling,
  4. flanged rail,
  5. flangeway,
  6. flank position,
  7. flank speed,
  8. flanken,
  9. flanker,
  10. flannel

Origin of flank

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

Related formsun·flank, verb (used with object)well-flanked, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flanking

British Dictionary definitions for flanking



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


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

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

Word Origin and History for flanking



late Old English flanc "fleshy part of the side," from Old French flanc, probably from Frankish *hlanca (cf. Old High German (h)lanca, Middle High German lanke "hip joint," German lenken "to bend, turn, lead"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn" (see link (n.)). The military sense is first attested 1540s, as is the verb. Related: Flanked; flanking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for flanking




The side of the body between the pelvis or hip and the last rib; the side.
The section of flesh in that area.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.