plank

[plangk]
|

noun

a long, flat piece of timber, thicker than a board.
lumber in such pieces; planking.
something to stand on or to cling to for support.
any one of the stated principles or objectives comprising the political platform of a party campaigning for election: They fought for a plank supporting a nuclear freeze.

verb (used with object)


Idioms

    walk the plank,
    1. to be forced, as by pirates, to walk to one's death by stepping off a plank extending from the ship's side over the water.
    2. to relinquish something, as a position, office, etc., under compulsion: We suspect that the new vice-president walked the plank because of a personality clash.

Origin of plank

1275–1325; Middle English planke < Old North French < Latin planca board, plank. See planch
Related formsplank·less, adjectiveplank·like, adjectiveun·planked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for walk the plank

plank

1

noun

a stout length of sawn timber
something that supports or sustains
one of the policies in a political party's programme
walk the plank to be forced by pirates to walk to one's death off the end of a plank jutting out over the water from the side of a ship
British slang a stupid person; idiot

verb (tr)

to cover or provide (an area) with planks
to beat (meat) to make it tender
mainly US and Canadian to cook or serve (meat or fish) on a special wooden board

Word Origin for plank

C13: from Old Norman French planke, from Late Latin planca board, from plancus flat-footed; probably related to Greek plax flat surface

plank

2

verb

(tr) Scot to hide; cache

Word Origin for plank

C19: a variant of plant
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 walk the plank

plank

n.

late 13c. (c.1200 as a surname), from Old North French planke, variant of Old French planche "plank, slab, little wooden bridge" (12c.), from Late Latin planca "broad slab, board," probably from Latin plancus "flat, flat-footed," from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta). Technically, timber sawed to measure 2 to 6 inches thick, 9 inches or more wide, and 8 feet or more long. Political sense of "item of a party platform" is U.S. coinage from 1848. To walk the plank, supposedly a pirate punishment, is first attested 1789 and most early references are to slave-traders disposing of excess human cargo in crossing the ocean.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with walk the plank

walk the plank

Be forced to resign, as in We were sure that Ted hadn't left of his own accord; he'd walked the plank. This metaphoric idiom alludes to a form of execution used in the 17th century, mainly by pirates, whereby a victim was forced to walk off the end of a board placed on the edge of the ship's deck and so drown. [Second half of 1800s]

plank

see walk the plank.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.