a. The part of the human leg between the knee and ankle.
b. A corresponding part in other vertebrates.
a. The whole leg of a human.
b. A leg or leglike part.
3. A cut of meat from the leg of a steer, calf, sheep, or lamb.
4. The long narrow part of a nail or pin.
5. A stem, stalk, or similar part.
6. Nautical The stem of an anchor.
7. The long shaft of a fishhook.
8. The part of a tobacco pipe between the bowl and stem.
9. The shaft of a key.
10. The narrow section of the handle of a spoon.
11. Printing The section of a body of type between the shoulder and the foot.
a. The narrow part of the sole of a shoe under the instep.
b. A piece of material, such as metal, that is used to reinforce or shape this part of a shoe.
13. A projection, such as a ring, on the back of a button by which it is sewn to cloth.
a. See tang1.
b. The part of a tool, such as a drill, that connects the functioning head to the handle.
a. The latter or remaining part, especially of a period of time.
b. The early or primary part of a period of time: the shank of the evening.
16. Slang A knife or other sharp, pointed implement, especially one that has been fashioned from something else; a shiv.
tr.v. shanked, shank·ing, shanks
1. To hit (a golf ball) with the heel of the club, causing the ball to veer in the wrong direction.
2. Slang To stab (a person) with a sharp, pointed implement.
[Middle English shanke, from Old English sceanca.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.