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.

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 lanker

Historical Examples of lanker

British Dictionary definitions for lanker


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

Word Origin for lank

Old English hlanc loose


adjective, adverb
  1. 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 lanker



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