Definition of flank in English:

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Pronunciation: /flaNGk/


1The side of a person’s or animal’s body between the ribs and the hip: leaning against his horse’s flanks
More example sentences
  • He tapped his horse's flanks and moved back to the front of the procession.
  • He brought his heels back into the horse's flanks.
  • Apache is white with black patches over his left flank, under his chest and neck and over the top of his head, around his eyes.
side, haunch, quarter, thigh
1.1A cut of meat from the flank of an animal: a thick flank of beef on a spit two pounds of flank
More example sentences
  • I spend all day hauling around big tubs of pork chops and beef flanks to be packed, wrapped and carted off to restaurants.
  • For beef, good casserole cuts are shin, brisket, neck, topside, thick flank or shoulder.
  • There were nice fatty chuck roasts, rolled flanks and skirts, four kinds of fresh looking ground beef in those pretty crowns that I knew I'd never learn to make.
1.2The side of something large, such as a mountain, building, or ship: the northern flank of the volcano
More example sentences
  • The entire northern flank of the mountain collapses and falls as an avalanche lowering the height of the mountain by 1,500 feet.
  • Meanwhile, the Cherokees fought sporadic engagements against other native peoples on their western and northern mountain flanks.
  • And, in early April, geologists had noted that the northern flank of the mountain was beginning to bulge ominously.
2The right or left side of a body of people such as an army, a naval force, or a soccer team: the left flank of the Russian Third Army
More example sentences
  • By the evening of 28 August, German forces advancing on the flanks had closed a circle around Second Army.
  • The 3rd and 2nd panzer groups were placed at the flanks of the Army Group Center as part of its assault groups.
  • By this formula MacArthur could pick the time and place of battle, using air and naval forces to protect his flanks while concentrating combat power for the next thrust.
side, wing
2.1The right or left side of a game board such as a chessboard.
Example sentences
  • When the opponent attacks on the flank, a counter in the center is usually very effective.


[with object]
1Be situated on each side of or on one side of (someone or something): the fireplace is flanked by built-in bookshelves
More example sentences
  • It is well lit by two large windows and has as its focal point a marble fireplace flanked by built-in shelving units.
  • The fireplace is flanked by fitted floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
  • Central to the transformation was the creation of an inviting sitting area oriented toward a new gas fireplace flanked by tall bookshelves.
edge, bound, line, border, fringe
1.1 (usually as adjective flanking) Guard or strengthen (a military force or position) from the side: massive walls, defended by four flanking towers
More example sentences
  • I had moved out of the view of the two armed guards and they quickly moved to flanking positions either side of me.
  • The other two took flanking positions as the group headed across the city.
1.2 (usually as adjective flanking) Attack down or from the sides, or rake with gunfire from the sides: a flanking attack from the northeast
More example sentences
  • We sat around the kitchen table and planned out our strategy, various frontal attacks and flanking maneuvers we could make were considered.
  • Suddenly, two Rebel batteries flanked the attacking Union troops and opened fire upon their exposed rear flank.
  • The second fighter's attack you, Tice and his five-fighter squadron will flank from behind and intercept.


Late Old English, from Old French flanc, of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with flank

ankh, bank, blank, clank, crank, dank, drank, embank, franc, frank, hank, lank, outflank, outrank, Planck, plank, point-blank, prank, rank, sank, shank, shrank, spank, stank, swank, tank, thank, yank

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: flank

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