9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[plangk] /plæŋk/
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)
to lay, cover, or furnish with planks.
to bake or broil and serve (steak, fish, chicken, etc.) on a wooden board.
plunk (def 2).
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 forms
plankless, adjective
planklike, adjective
unplanked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for planks
  • The legs of the patient were usually placed between two planks of wood, which they binded with cords and wedges.
  • Around its base was piled sawdust, held in place by heavy planks nailed to the floor.
  • planks propped on rocks display cigarettes, candy, and batteries for sale.
  • She did not shift her feet during the recital-perhaps because the old wooden floor planks could creak loudly.
  • Ancient masonry hides behind thickets of scaffolding, planks and steel poles.
  • The flat, oblong planks of white birch wood make ideal materials for miniature log cabins or handles for homemade puppets.
  • The following morning, having heard about the sawmills, he showed up and was given a job carrying planks and logs.
  • Installing one of those prefab, snap-together wood-flooring kits is a lot easier than shaping and sanding rough planks.
  • Another cuts them into planks, which his mate tosses onto a rising stack.
  • Only later did various permutations of the tea party develop additional political planks which are all over the map.
British Dictionary definitions for planks


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
(Brit, slang) a stupid person; idiot
verb (transitive)
to cover or provide (an area) with planks
to beat (meat) to make it tender
(mainly US & Canadian) to cook or serve (meat or fish) on a special wooden board
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norman French planke, from Late Latin planca board, from plancus flat-footed; probably related to Greek plax flat surface


(transitive) (Scot) to hide; cache
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for planks



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for planks

plank 1


To do the sex act with or to; screw: had witless good fun with his children while his wife was out getting planked

[1970s+; origin unknown]

plank 2

Related Terms

walk the plank

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with planks


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