verb (used with object)

Golf. to hit (a golf ball) with the base of the shaft of a club just above the club head, causing the ball to go off sharply to the right.

verb (used without object)

Chiefly Scot. to travel on foot.Compare shanks' mare.



    shank of the evening, the main or best part of the evening: Don't leave yet—it's just the shank of the evening.

Origin of shank

before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English sc(e)anca; cognate with Low German schanke leg, thigh; akin to German Schenkel thigh, Schinken ham
Related formsun·shanked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shank

Contemporary Examples of shank

Historical Examples of shank

  • He struck the rivet such a blow that he snapped one shank of his spur short off.

  • This plate is soldered to the shank of the screw-eye and the cleat is complete.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • He's in the shank of his honeymoon as we stands chattin' yere.'

    Faro Nell and Her Friends

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • He's had just about time to make the trip on Shank's mare by takin' short cuts.

    Dwellers in the Hills

    Melville Davisson Post

  • Next to the blade on the end of which is the cutting edge, is the shank, Fig. 65.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

British Dictionary definitions for shank



anatomy the shin
the corresponding part of the leg in vertebrates other than man
a cut of meat from the top part of an animal's shank
the main part of a tool, between the working part and the handle
the part of a bolt between the thread and the head
the cylindrical part of a bit by which it is held in the drill
the ring or stem on the back of some buttons
the stem or long narrow part of a key, anchor, hook, spoon handle, nail, pin, etc
the band of a ring as distinguished from the setting
  1. the part of a shoe connecting the wide part of the sole with the heel
  2. the metal or leather piece used for this
printing the body of a piece of type, between the shoulder and the foot
engineering a ladle used for molten metal
music another word for crook (def. 6)


(intr) (of fruits, roots, etc) to show disease symptoms, esp discoloration
(tr) golf to mishit (the ball) with the foot of the shaft rather than the face of the club

Word Origin for shank

Old English scanca; related to Old Frisian schanke, Middle Low German schenke, Danish, Swedish skank leg
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 shank

Old English sceanca "leg, shank, shinbone," specifically, the part of the leg from the knee to the ankle, from Proto-Germanic *skankon- (cf. Middle Low German schenke, German schenkel "shank, leg"), perhaps literally "that which bends," from PIE root *skeng- "crooked" (cf. Old Norse skakkr "wry, distorted," Greek skazein "to limp"). Shank's mare "one's own legs as a means of transportation" is attested from 1774 (shanks-naig).


1927, in golf, "to strike (the ball) with the heel of the club," from shank (n.). Related: Shanked; shanking. Earlier as "to take to one's legs" (1774, Scottish); "to send off without ceremony" (1816).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for shank




The part of the human leg between the knee and ankle.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.