Definition of shank in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /SHaNGk/


1 (often shanks) A person’s leg, especially the part from the knee to the ankle: the old man’s thin, bony shanks showed through his trousers
1.1The lower part of an animal’s foreleg.
Example sentences
  • The horse's plastinated shanks and neck muscles convey an impression of overwhelming power.
  • I slipped on the severed shank of a buffalo and fell hard into a ditch.
  • Kristin Collins stood directly in front of the handsome racehorse, facing him, yanking on his lead shank with all her might.
1.2The lower part of an animal’s foreleg as a cut of meat.
Example sentences
  • To follow, there's dum ka kid gosht: lamb shanks cooked in gravy in a sealed pot; or maybe Bombay Brasserie lamb chops, cooked in the tandoor.
  • If there is leftover gammon ham, lamb shank, or roast meat around, he suggests you shred it finely and add at the last minute, for the best of all possible borschts.
  • To keep the cost commendably low, the kitchen gravitates toward less expensive cuts of meat, braised shanks and briskets, and one-time trash fish like monkfish and catfish, finessed with Asian seasonings.
2The shaft or stem of a tool or implement, in particular.
2.1A long narrow part of a tool connecting the handle to the operational end.
Example sentences
  • The other patent, by J P. Curtiss, was for an improvement in screwdrivers by securing the shank in a solid handle.
  • Edmund Schade patented, on 6 May 1924, a different arrangement for securing the handle to the shank.
  • Mr. Shade's patent provided for the solid shank in the handle to be made with a series of lateral projections or wings graded in size toward the head.
2.2The cylindrical part of a bit by which it is held in a drill.
Example sentences
  • To avoid this, use a cordless drill to drill a pilot hole, one slightly smaller than the shank of the nail.
  • When working with screws of larger diameter, a pilot hole of the same diameter as the shank of the screw should be drilled into the wood to a depth of 1/3 the length of the screw.
  • Then drill these holes on the band and joists, again using a drill bit one size smaller than the shank of the lag screw.
2.3The long stem of a key, spoon, anchor, etc.
Example sentences
  • Here he finds the familiar silhouette of the swallow in flight in a simple bit of sailor's hardware; the swallow's name in Greek is inscribed on the anchor's shank.
2.4The straight part of a nail or fishhook.
Example sentences
  • The involved skin area should be well stabilized against a flat surface as the shank of the fishhook is depressed against the skin.
  • Tied with hard nylon monofilament bodies and weighted with two brass pins parallel to the hook shank, Grant's flies were durable and realistic copies of a big trout's favorite meal.
3A part or appendage by which something is attached to something else, especially a wire loop attached to the back of a button.
Example sentences
  • On the 4 ‘wire end, lay a nail against the bead, and closely wrap the wire around the nail twice to create the shank.’
  • I could make thread shanks with buttonhole stitch as well as complete a neat French seam.
3.1The band of a ring rather than the setting or gemstone.
Example sentences
  • Ring shank nails have a greater holding power than regular nails and are used specifically for this purpose.
  • After the shank was driven into the bolster, the bolster was placed into a die that squeezed the rings into the grooves and wings of the shank.
4The narrow middle of the sole of a shoe.
Example sentences
  • I was told by the company that it was the steel shank in the sole and there was nothing that could be done.
  • Now Martin fashions a 5 1/4 shoe with a hard shank, very large platform, and medium vamp for Schandorff.
  • And the shank of the shoe is flat too, so when I stand in first position, I can actually feel all five toes on the ground.


[with object] Golf
Strike (the ball) with the heel of the club: I shanked a shot and hit a person on a shoulder
More example sentences
  • They are in their element talking about the technology, but after business execs hear the words ‘robust and scalable’ for the third time, their eyes glaze over and they're thinking about how they shanked the ball on the 14th hole.
  • I was playing golf at a local Houston course, and another player shanked his tee shot right into the side of my face.
  • But I am so tense that I'm topping the ball, shanking it (which I have never done), anything but hitting a straight one.



[usually in combination]: a long-shanked hook
More example sentences
  • Brass ring shanked boat nails are excellent if available.
  • A shanked clearance from the City shot-stopper then saw Tait close in on goal, only for Chris Brass to recover sharply and force the Rovers' striker wide and to safety.
  • I prefer a size 10 in long shank and have tied smaller versions on conventional shanked size 10.


Old English sceanca; related to Dutch schenk 'leg bone' and German Schenkel 'thigh'. The use of the verb as a golfing term dates from the 1920s.

Words that rhyme with shank

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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shank

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.