Definition of hank in English:



  • 1A coil or skein of yarn, hair, rope, or other material.

    ‘a thick hank of her blonde hair’
    • ‘Jenny's dark hair had been brushed out and tied with ribbon and it lay in a soft hank across her shoulder.’
    • ‘Seems her feet got dirty at the friends house a dozen times before I ripped hanks of hair from my head and tossed them into the air.’
    • ‘A woman can be seen through a doorway; she is seated and feeding a hank of yarn to someone out of sight.’
    • ‘In Thao Van's other basket are the accessories, piles of chopped coriander, mint and spring onion; huge hanks of fresh rice noodles, white as marble.’
    • ‘But most of these are continental in flavour, with hanks of Parma ham hanging from the ceiling and boxes of Pannatone piled high.’
    • ‘It is larger and has fewer eaters and is it revolves at 150 to 200 revolutions per minute, it requires no feed rollers to hold the hanks of fibre which are submitted to its operation.’
    • ‘Large, hard-boned dogs crack their skulls on the smoky rubbish wasteland on the edge of town, hanks of gory sheepskin lie in the turgid filth and multi-species dung.’
    • ‘I figured better a little wet on me than a lot of wet all inside the house, so I grabbed the ladder and took a hank of cord and dodged out back up the garden wall onto the roof.’
    • ‘She smiled and kissed the Coyote; he'd been fun, but now he was an exhausted hank of fur, panting hard in the back of the booth.’
    • ‘He pushed hanks of auburn back out of his eyes and held the spiral-linked booklet out towards me.’
    • ‘All around are souvenir stands selling anything from T-shirts and badges through to ‘Hog Hair’ - a kind of biker Jimmy Wig with a hank of human hair attached to a bandana - and leather, leather and yet more leather.’
    • ‘There was a lot of cutting seams and scrap thread and yarn, but I managed to get a few small hanks out of the left side panel of the cardigan.’
    • ‘Snarled hanks of colored line nest devotedly against one another and suspend euphoniously from a planar filigree of black over white.’
    • ‘Either version is good savored alone or dipped into one of the little pitchers of warm sauce that come with each order - or snugged into a hank of floppy white bread and consumed with a hit of sweet-sour sauce and crisp white onion.’
    • ‘I would return to feed you black hanks of kelp from each fist.’
    • ‘I so often read about people loving variegated yarns on the hank, but hating it, when it's knitted up.’
    • ‘Earlier European instruments, from the 16th century onwards, had bars laid on hanks of straw.’
    • ‘Enthused by Mysorean strands, Bangalore's Smitha Cariappa visually interpreted the local silk industry, transformed into hut-like spaces embellished by rangoli, hanks of silk, and symbolic silkworm evolution.’
    • ‘Suki and colleagues have taken the more conservative position that physical forces merely dissect the tissue as if it were a hank of rope under tension (their analogy).’
    • ‘She picked up a hank of noodles with her chopsticks.’
    coil, skein, length, roll, bunch, clump, loop, twist, piece
    shock, lock, ringlet, curl
    View synonyms
  • 2A measurement of the length per unit mass of cloth or yarn, which varies according to the type being measured. For example, a hank is equal to 840 yards for cotton yarn and 560 yards for worsted.

    • ‘This enables the dyer to create hanks of yarn that aren't too tightly wound together, ensuring that the dye bath can penetrate all of the fibres and preventing streaking.’
    • ‘They buy the cotton from the Sangham office for Rs.25 a kg and can get 13-15 hanks if the cotton is good.’
    • ‘I left the Studio with some nice stuff, pictured here. 2 hanks of the lovely Rio de la Plata (the other Uruguayan yarn), 2 hanks of Ironstone mohair, and 1 hank of Ironstone cotton tape.’
    • ‘Cyril, don't let them leave without a couple hanks of wool as well, eh?’
    • ‘Harry flung the hank at the commuter, the larger quantity of the line making a ‘plunk’ as it hit LEAF WINE's coachroof.’
  • 3Sailing
    A ring for securing a staysail to the stay.

    • ‘We can also reduce to total cost of the your roller furling package by taking your hank on sails in trade.’
    • ‘Place the hank on the eyelet location, facing you on the selected side of the sail.’
    • ‘Foam padded luffs etc help but its still not tight like a hank on sail.’
    • ‘A hank is provided for rapidly attaching a sail to a stay.’
    • ‘The hank has a generally cylindrical body member with a longitudinal channel therethrough large enough to accommodate and slide on a stay on which it is adapted to be mounted.’


Middle English: from Old Norse hǫnk; compare with Swedish hank string and Danish hank handle.