Definition of flank in English:

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Pronunciation: /flaŋk/


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, loin, quarter, thigh
1.1A cut of meat from the flank of an animal: a thick flank of beef
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 a large object or structure: the northern flank of the Rockies
More example sentences
  • These linear depressions are filled with brines that are the result of dissolution of evaporites by fluids travelling up the flank of the structure.
  • Sometime ago, water leaked from the right flank of the solid structure.
  • Determine the style of faulting and deformation on the flanks of the structure.
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;
face, aspect, facet
2.1The right or left side of a gaming area such as a chessboard.
Example sentences
  • When the opponent attacks on the flank, a counter in the center is usually very effective.
2.2 (also flank forward) Rugby another term for wing forward.
Example sentences
  • At one point he popped up in the Scottish defence as an auxiliary flank forward, driving a heavy Argentine opponent clean away from the ruck in textbook fashion.
  • He is built like a flank forward, likes to speak his mind and has the charisma of a natural-born leader.
  • I remember that during that game my hero, W.B. Willie Welsh, who played flank forward for Scotland, went off.


[with object]
1Be on each or on one side of: the three defendants stood in the dock, flanked by police officers cherry-red sofas flanked the enormous fireplace
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, skirt, be situated along;
surround, circle, ring, circumscribe
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 north-east
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.


in flank

Military At the side: they were to hit the tail of the column in flank
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile the Roman infantry pushed back the Celts and Spaniards in Hannibal's centre, bunching inwards away from the Africans who were thus able to take them in flank.


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

Line breaks: flank

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