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See more synonyms for lank on Thesaurus.com
adjective, lank·er, lank·est.
  1. (of plants) unduly long and slender: lank grass; lank, leafless trees.
  2. (of hair) straight and limp; without spring or curl.
  3. lean; gaunt; thin.
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Origin of lank

before 1000; Middle English lanc, Old English hlanc; akin to Old High German hlanca loin, side. Cf. flank
Related formslank·ly, adverblank·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lank

attenuate, beanpole, cadaverous, emaciated, ethereal, fragile, gangling, gangly, gaunt, haggard, lanky, lean, lightweight, peaked, pole, puny, rangy, rarefied, rawboned, rickety

Examples from the Web for lank

Historical Examples of lank

  • The trapper slapped his lank, leather-clad thigh in high approval.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Perhaps the good Samaritan was lean and lank, and found it hard to live.

  • Sim cowered in a corner of the box, with his lank fingers in his long hair.

  • The colonel looked at O'Malley's lank and bony frame and smiled.

  • George, who was big and lank, and truculent in appearance, nodded.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss

British Dictionary definitions for lank


  1. long and limp
  2. thin or gaunt
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Derived Formslankly, adverblankness, noun

Word Origin for lank

Old English hlanc loose


adjective, adverb
  1. Southern African informal a lot; a great deal
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Word Origin for lank

perhaps from Afrikaans lank long
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 lank


Old English hlanc "loose and empty, slender, flaccid," from Proto-Germanic *khlankaz, perhaps from a root meaning "flexible" (cf. German lenken "to bend, turn aside," Old Norse hlykkr "bend, noose, loop"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn" (see link (n.)). "Some examples may be long adj. with unvoicing of g" ["Middle English Dictionary"]

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper