[ langk ]
/ læŋk /

adjective, lank·er, lank·est.

(of plants) unduly long and slender: lank grass; lank, leafless trees.
(of hair) straight and limp; without spring or curl.
lean; gaunt; thin.

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

Examples from the Web for lank

British Dictionary definitions for lank (1 of 2)


/ (læŋk) /


long and limp
thin or gaunt
Derived Formslankly, adverblankness, noun

Word Origin for lank

Old English hlanc loose

British Dictionary definitions for lank (2 of 2)


/ (læŋk) /

adjective, adverb

Southern African informal a lot; a great deal

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"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper