[ hangk ]
/ hæŋk /


a skein, as of thread or yarn.
a definite length of thread or yarn: A hank of cotton yarn measures 840 yards.
a coil, knot, or loop: a hank of hair.
Nautical. a ring, link, or shackle for securing the luff of a staysail or jib to its stay or the luff or head of a gaff sail to the mast or gaff.

verb (used with object)

Nautical. to fasten (a sail) by means of hanks.

Origin of hank

1175–1225; Middle English < Old Norse hǫnk hank, coil, skein, clasp; akin to hang
Related formsun·hanked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hanked

  • Once already the old gentleman had hanked on the bank a little lower down, but so slightly that a twitch brought the flies away.

    The Eagle Cliff|R.M. Ballantyne
  • He cast better, he hanked oftener, and he disentangled more easily than he had done at an earlier period of the day.

    Freaks on the Fells|R.M. Ballantyne
  • Hannah Worth walked home, laden like a beast of burden, with an enormous bag of hanked yarn on her back.

    Ishmael|Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

British Dictionary definitions for hanked


/ (hæŋk) /


a loop, coil, or skein, as of rope, wool, or yarn
nautical a ringlike fitting that can be opened to admit a stay for attaching the luff of a sail
a unit of measurement of cloth, yarn, etc, such as a length of 840 yards (767 m) of cotton or 560 yards (512 m) of worsted yarn


(tr) nautical to attach (a sail) to a stay by hanks

Word Origin for hank

C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse hanka to coil, Swedish hank string
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 hanked



late 13c., probably from a Scandinavian source, e.g. Old Norse honk, hank "clasp, hank," related to hang (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper