Definition of shank in English:



  • 1often shanksA person's leg, especially the part from the knee to the ankle.

    ‘the old man's thin, bony shanks showed through his trousers’
    1. 1.1 The lower part of an animal's foreleg.
      ‘many fast animals have long shanks or calves’
      • ‘The horse's plastinated shanks and neck muscles convey an impression of overwhelming power.’
      • ‘Ritually tattooed from his waist to his knees, the Maori artist gently paints the bull's skinny shanks.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 The shank of an animal's leg as a cut of meat.
      ‘meals like ham hocks and lamb shanks are cooked with reasonably priced cuts of meat’
      • ‘I followed up with Caesar salad while hubby opted for a main of lamb shanks.’
      • ‘For the veal shanks, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.’
      • ‘They initially had the recipe serve six, and they used lamb shanks to boot, but I didn't have 6 friends who wanted to eat lamb tonight, and the supermarket was fresh outa shank.’
      • ‘Mains include the likes of lamb shanks lightly braised in thyme, sweet chilli and wine jus on roast potatoes and vegetables or panfried terekahi served with a creamy white wine, garlic and lemon sauce on broccoli and green beans.’
      • ‘What I remember most clearly aren't his lamb shanks or inventions involving endive; it's Saturday breakfast.’
      • ‘In a saucepan, add veal shanks, tongue, leeks, parsnips, celery root, garlic, red wine and veal stock.’
      • ‘She did, I will say this, fashion a shiv out of the lamb shank.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the shanks to a parchment-lined sheet pan and set aside, keeping warm.’
      • ‘The book batters vulgarity like a butcher with a shank.’
      • ‘Someone is being stingy with the spices for the lamb shank, and veal Milanese seems like an interloper from another menu.’
      • ‘And though the risotto is a bit oily, the lamb shank in the middle is served as such a tenderly appealing stew, the grains were bound to get short shrift.’
      • ‘There are also gargantuan lamb shanks studded with lotus roots, giant tandoori prawns flown in from Sri Lanka, and leaning towers of tender salmon interspersed with okra and spicy tomato sauce.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And while the liquor eases the bloated, fibre-induced discomfort of our stomachs, we start thinking of running back into the strong, loving embrace of a veal shank.’
      • ‘Included on his menu is tangia, an heirloom recipe in which lamb shanks seasoned with cumin, saffron, nutmeg, and ginger are placed in a fat, terra cotta urn and cooked overnight in the coals of the public ovens.’
      • ‘‘Try not to behave like a ravenous pig tonight, dear,’ she was saying in her diplomatic yet definitive way, as the lamb shanks and pots of stewed tripe thumped down on our table.’
      • ‘Braised lamb shank in black pepper is curiously flat, as if the meat's natural flavor has been neutered.’
      • ‘Preheat oven to 375 F. Cook the shank covered for approximately 3 hours until fork tender.’
      lower limb
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  • 2A long, narrow part of a tool connecting the handle to the operational end.

    ‘gouges vary in the amount of curve or sweep on the cutting edge and the form of the shank’
    • ‘Edmund Schade patented, on 6 May 1924, a different arrangement for securing the handle to the shank.’
    • ‘They wrap a bit of newspaper round the shank of the nail.’
    • ‘Containing a groove to guide the knob shell and a hole for both the shank to sit into and to allow the spindle to pass into the lock, the rose ensures stable, guided turning of the doorknob.’
    • ‘As a result the chucking force in [this area] decreases, with the result that the shank… of the tool… cannot be held with a uniform chucking force over the entire length thereof.’
    • ‘The tangs don't extend all the way through to the end of the handle, the chef's knives have no defined shank for grasping the blade easily, and a few of the knives have ends that have snapped off from abuse.’
    • ‘They are characterized by a rectangular-shaped crossbar that is wider and thicker than the shank or vertical element.’
    • ‘In this type of construction, the shank of the screwdriver was forged and knurled on the handle receiving end and then tempered to the desirable hardness.’
    • ‘Downward pressure is applied to the shank of the hook.’
    • ‘Use an implement with narrow chisel or shovel point shanks spaced four to five feet apart and drive perpendicular to the direction of the prevalent winds.’
    • ‘Odum cancelled his scheduled demonstration after the steel shank of the propeller bent during an engine test.’
    • ‘And the shank of the nail (the part that's driven into the wood) determines its holding power.’
    • ‘The steel shank did me a good deed to hammer off the padlocks.’
    • ‘Combination tools are tillage and incorporation tools that combine disk gangs, field cultivator shanks, and leveling devices.’
    • ‘Then run the round part of your hammer handle or screwdriver shank tightly up the joint to seal any gap that may be left.’
    • ‘Smaller diameter shanks were offered on the no.50 and no.55 screwdrivers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The shank and bolster were next inserted with an insulating washer into the handle and ferrule and driven tight, thereby preventing axial movement between shank, bolster and handle.’
    • ‘The other patent, by J P. Curtiss, was for an improvement in screwdrivers by securing the shank in a solid handle.’
    • ‘The needle's upper portion is called the shank.’
    • ‘Use an implement with shanks spaced 48-60 inches apart.’
    handle, butt, haft, grip, shaft, helve
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    1. 2.1 The cylindrical part of a bit by which it is held in a drill.
      • ‘It was necessary to drill holes to pass the bolt shank very precisely in order to be able to easily pass through all the sections.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To avoid this, use a cordless drill to drill a pilot hole, one slightly smaller than the shank of the nail.’
      • ‘Then drill these holes on the band and joists, again using a drill bit one size smaller than the shank of the lag screw.’
      • ‘A pilot hole is a hole drilled with a bit that is slightly thinner than the shank of the nail.’
    2. 2.2 The long stem of a key, spoon, anchor, etc.
      ‘all Roman lever keys have a tubular shank’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 2.3 The straight part of a fish hook.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The involved skin area should be well stabilized against a flat surface as the shank of the fishhook is depressed against the skin.’
  • 3A part or appendage by which something is attached to something else, especially a wire loop attached to the back of a button.

    • ‘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.’
    1. 3.1 The band of a ring rather than the setting or gemstone.
      • ‘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.

    ‘a rigid leather boot with a full shank’
    • ‘I was told by the company that it was the steel shank in the sole and there was nothing that could be done.’
    • ‘But the once-squishy sole is fortified with a steel shank.’
    • ‘Hip enough for après-ski parties, these boots sport handcrafted stitching, lightly distressed waxed leather for durability, and a steel shank and multidensity footbed for support.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now Martin fashions a 5 1/4 shoe with a hard shank, very large platform, and medium vamp for Schandorff.’
  • 5US informal A makeshift knife fashioned from a sharp item such as broken glass or a razor.

    ‘he used a shank to threaten a guard and steal his uniform’
  • 6Golf
    An act of striking the ball with the heel of the club.

    ‘he hit a shank with his tee shot and took double bogey’
    1. 6.1Tennis A mishit shot, typically one that is struck with the frame of the racket.
      ‘one of the worst shots the great man has ever played—a forehand shank from on top of the net’


[with object]
  • 1Golf
    Strike (the ball) with the heel of the club.

    ‘I shanked a shot and hit a person on a shoulder’
    • ‘The only blot on his card was that bogey five at the 17th hole where after a big drive close to a bunker he shanked his approach into another bunker and failed to get up and down.’
    • ‘The way they're shanking wedges, they'll kill me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Tennis Mishit (a shot), typically by striking it with the frame of the racket.
      ‘he missed an easy smash then shanked a backhand volley’
  • 2US informal Slash or stab (someone), especially with a makeshift knife.

    ‘I got shanked with a broken bottle’
    ‘my friend pulled a knife and shanked him’


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