from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The part of the human leg between the knee and ankle.
  • noun A corresponding part in other vertebrates.
  • noun The whole leg of a human.
  • noun A leg or leglike part.
  • noun A cut of meat from the leg of a steer, calf, sheep, or lamb.
  • noun The long narrow part of a nail or pin.
  • noun A stem, stalk, or similar part.
  • noun Nautical The stem of an anchor.
  • noun The long shaft of a fishhook.
  • noun The part of a tobacco pipe between the bowl and stem.
  • noun The shaft of a key.
  • noun The narrow section of the handle of a spoon.
  • noun Printing The section of a body of type between the shoulder and the foot.
  • noun The narrow part of the sole of a shoe under the instep.
  • noun A piece of material, such as metal, that is used to reinforce or shape this part of a shoe.
  • noun A projection, such as a ring, on the back of a button by which it is sewn to cloth.
  • noun The part of a tool, such as a drill, that connects the functioning head to the handle.
  • noun The latter or remaining part, especially of a period of time.
  • noun The early or primary part of a period of time.
  • transitive verb To hit (a golf ball) with the heel of the club, causing the ball to veer in the wrong direction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The leg, or the part of the leg which extends from the knee to the ankle; the tibia or shin-bone.
  • noun Technically, in anatomy and zoology, the shin, crus, or leg proper, between the knee and the ankle: the second segment of the hind limb, represented by the length of the tibia.
  • noun In a horse, popularly, the part of the fore leg between the so-called knee and the fetlock, corresponding to the metacarpus. See cut under horse.
  • noun In a bird, popularly, the part of the foot between where the feathers usually end and the roots of the toes, commonly held upright and appearing like a part of the leg, not of the foot, as it really is; the tarsometatarsus.
  • noun In entomology, the tibia: same as shin
  • noun In botany, the footstalk or pedicel of a flower.
  • noun A stocking, or the part of a stocking which covers the leg; specifically, a stocking in the process of being knitted (a Scotch use); also, a legging or leg-covering.
  • noun That part of an instrument, tool, or the like which connects the acting part, with a handle or the part by which it is held or moved, Specifically
  • noun That part of a shoe which connects the broad part of the sole with the heel. See cut under boot.
  • noun In metallurgy, a large ladle to contain molten metals, managed by a straight bar at one end and a cross-bar with handles at the other end, by which it is tipped to pour out the metal.
  • noun The shaft of a mine.
  • noun plural Flat pliers with jaws of soft iron used for nibbling glass for lenses preparatory to grinding. See nibbling.
  • noun In arch.:
  • noun The shaft of a column.
  • noun The plain space between the grooves of the Doric triglyph.
  • noun A kind of fur, mentioned as used for trimming outer garments in the sixteenth century, and as derived from the legs of animals.
  • noun The latter end or part of anything.
  • To be affected with disease of the pedicel or footstalk; fall off by decay of the footstalk: often with off.
  • To take to one's legs: frequently with an impersonal it: as, to shank it (that is, to make the journey on foot).
  • To send off without ceremony.
  • In the making of lenses, to break off (the rough edges) with pliers of soft iron.
  • noun A shell: same as chank.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To fall off, as a leaf, flower, or capsule, on account of disease affecting the supporting footstalk; -- usually followed by off.
  • noun The part of the leg from the knee to the foot; the shin; the shin bone; also, the whole leg.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English shanke, from Old English sceanca.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English shanke, from Old English sceanca, from Proto-Germanic *skankōn (compare West Frisian skonk, Low German Schanke, Dutch/German Schenkel 'shank, leg', Norwegian skank), from *skankaz (compare Old Norse skakkr 'wry, crooked'), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)keng (compare Middle Irish scingim 'I spring', Ancient Greek skázein 'to limp').


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  • Contronymic in the sense: shank of the evening vs. main shaft or part.

    January 31, 2007

  • Urban Dictionary has many definitions, which boil down to 'a weapon used in prison' or the act of attacking someone with such a weapon.

    June 2, 2009

  • my personal definition is: a poorly hit golf shot that travels less than 50% of the anticipated distance

    June 13, 2011

  • Not just your personal definition. A mishit in a ball game - football, tennis, golf - is a pretty widespread meaning of shank.

    June 13, 2011

  • Mi what? Mi nd yer language, yarbo.

    June 13, 2011

  • Shank you very much for shat, bilby.

    June 13, 2011