adjective, lank·i·er, lank·i·est.

ungracefully thin and rawboned; bony; gaunt: a very tall and lanky man.

Origin of lanky

First recorded in 1660–70; lank + -y1
Related formslank·i·ly, adverblank·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lanky

Contemporary Examples of lanky

Historical Examples of lanky

  • We fixed upon Pierce to personate the ghost because he was tall and lanky.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • The lanky Sucatash looked at him askance, catching the note of sentiment.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • At the sight of their visitor's lanky form the child's face brightened.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It's the name of that lanky old store-keeper who is always about the decks.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

  • There was no struggle: the lanky figure showed no maniacal fury.

British Dictionary definitions for lanky


adjective lankier or lankiest

tall, thin, and loose-jointed
Derived Formslankily, adverblankiness, noun
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 lanky

1630s, "straight and flat," used of hair, from lank + -y (2); sense of "awkwardly tall and thin" is first recorded 1818. Related: Lankiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper