[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. hangzhou,
  2. hangzhou bay,
  3. hania,
  4. hanifah,
  5. haniwa,
  6. hanker,
  7. hankering,
  8. hankeringly,
  9. hankou,
  10. hankow

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

British Dictionary definitions for hanking


/ (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 hanking



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