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[langk] /læŋk/
adjective, lanker, lankest.
(of plants) unduly long and slender:
lank grass; lank, leafless trees.
(of hair) straight and limp; without spring or curl.
lean; gaunt; thin.
Origin of lank
before 1000; Middle English lanc, Old English hlanc; akin to Old High German hlanca loin, side. Cf. flank
Related forms
lankly, adverb
lankness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lank
  • His hair too was shock-white and lank on his forehead.
  • She despairs of her lank-haired, wonky sibling, and they soon lock antlers over the vexed question of jojoba conditioner.
  • His big body becomes lank and useless, the distance between his eyes seems to widen.
  • He who builds a house or marries is left with a lank purse.
  • In my poor, lean lank face nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting.
  • She has the same lank hair, the same baggy sweaters whose arms are too long.
  • lank stated that he has no record of the last shed permit issued for a shed.
British Dictionary definitions for lank


long and limp
thin or gaunt
Derived Forms
lankly, adverb
lankness, noun
Word Origin
Old English hlanc loose


adjective, adverb
(South African, informal) a lot; a great deal
Word Origin
perhaps from Afrikaans lank long
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
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Word Origin and History for lank

Old English hlanc "loose and empty, slender, flaccid," from Proto-Germanic *khlankaz, perhaps from a root meaning "flexible" (cf. German lenken "to bend, turn aside," Old Norse hlykkr "bend, noose, loop"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn" (see link (n.)). "Some examples may be long adj. with unvoicing of g" ["Middle English Dictionary"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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