awkwardly tall and spindly; lank and loosely built.

Also gangly.

Origin of gangling

1800–10; akin to obsolete gangrel gangling person; cf. gang1


[gang-guh l]

verb (used without object), gan·gled, gan·gling.

to move awkwardly or ungracefully: A tall, stiff-jointed man gangled past.

Origin of gangle

First recorded in 1965–70; back formation from gangling Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gangling

awkward, bony, gawky, lanky, lumbering, skinny, spindly, tall, thin, leggy, long-legged

Examples from the Web for gangling

Historical Examples of gangling

  • Four years there did the work for the gangling, silent mountaineer.

  • It was the first joke the gangling innovator had perpetrated.

    The Brown Mouse

    Herbert Quick

  • The rest were children, from gangling adolescents to one mere infant in arms.

    Nightmare Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Look a that gangling country jay, he muttered in Osgoods ear.

  • Long, lean and hollow cheeked, the term "gangling" fits him better than any other.

British Dictionary definitions for gangling


gangly (ˈɡæŋɡlɪ)


tall, lanky, and awkward in movement

Word Origin for gangling

perhaps related to gangrel; see gang ²
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 gangling

by 1812, a frequentative of gang in some sense involving looseness.

GANGLING. Tall, slender, delicate, generally applied to plants. Warw. [James O. Halliwell, "A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1846]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper