1. Anatomy. the part of the lower limb in humans between the knee and the ankle; leg.
  2. a corresponding or analogous part in certain animals.
  3. the lower limb in humans, including both the leg and the thigh.
  4. a cut of meat from the top part of the front (foreshank) or back (hind shank) leg of an animal.
  5. a narrow part of various devices, as a tool or bolt, connecting the end by which the object is held or moved with the end that acts upon another object.
  6. a straight, usually narrow, shaftlike part of various objects connecting two more important or complex parts, as the stem of a pipe.
  7. a knob, small projection, or end of a device for attaching to another object, as a small knob on the back of a solid button, or the end of a drill for gripping in a shaft.
  8. the long, straight part of an anchor connecting the crown and the ring.
  9. the straight part of a fishhook away from the bent part or prong.
  10. Music. crook1(def 8).
  11. Informal.
    1. the early part of a period of time: It was just the shank of the evening when the party began.
    2. the latter part of a period of time: They didn’t get started until the shank of the morning.
  12. the narrow part of the sole of a shoe, lying beneath the instep.
  13. shankpiece.
  14. Printing. the body of a type, between the shoulder and the foot.
  15. Golf. a shot veering sharply to the right after being hit with the base of a club shaft.
  16. the part of a phonograph stylus or needle on which the diamond or sapphire tip is mounted.
  17. Jewelry. the part of a ring that surrounds the finger; hoop.

verb (used with object)

  1. Golf. to hit (a golf ball) with the base of the shaft of a club just above the club head, causing the ball to go off sharply to the right.

verb (used without object)

  1. Chiefly Scot. to travel on foot.Compare shanks’ mare.


  1. shank of the evening, the main or best part of the evening: Don’t leave yet—it’s just the shank of the evening.


  1. anatomy the shin
  2. the corresponding part of the leg in vertebrates other than man
  3. a cut of meat from the top part of an animal’s shank
  4. the main part of a tool, between the working part and the handle
  5. the part of a bolt between the thread and the head
  6. the cylindrical part of a bit by which it is held in the drill
  7. the ring or stem on the back of some buttons
  8. the stem or long narrow part of a key, anchor, hook, spoon handle, nail, pin, etc
  9. the band of a ring as distinguished from the setting
    1. the part of a shoe connecting the wide part of the sole with the heel
    2. the metal or leather piece used for this
  10. printing the body of a piece of type, between the shoulder and the foot
  11. engineering a ladle used for molten metal
  12. music another word for crook (def. 6)


  1. (intr) (of fruits, roots, etc) to show disease symptoms, esp discoloration
  2. (tr) golf to mishit (the ball) with the foot of the shaft rather than the face of the club

n.Old English sceanca “leg, shank, shinbone,” specifically, the part of the leg from the knee to the ankle, from Proto-Germanic *skankon- (cf. Middle Low German schenke, German schenkel “shank, leg”), perhaps literally “that which bends,” from PIE root *skeng- “crooked” (cf. Old Norse skakkr “wry, distorted,” Greek skazein “to limp”). Shank’s mare “one’s own legs as a means of transportation” is attested from 1774 (shanks-naig). v.1927, in golf, “to strike (the ball) with the heel of the club,” from shank (n.). Related: Shanked; shanking. Earlier as “to take to one’s legs” (1774, Scottish); “to send off without ceremony” (1816). n.

  1. The part of the human leg between the knee and ankle.

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