See also: Lank, länk, and länk-

English

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Etymology

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From Middle English lank, from Old English hlanc, from Proto-West Germanic *hlank, from Proto-Germanic *hlankaz (lank, thin), from Proto-Indo-European *kleng- (to bend, turn, wind, twist); compare German lenken (to turn), Gelenk (joint), Old High German hlanca (hip, side, flank), and English link (of a chain).

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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lank (comparative lanker, superlative lankest)

  1. Slender or thin; not well filled out; not plump; shrunken; lean.
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
      Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flames
      With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
      Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
      About her lank and all o’erteemed loins,
      A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
    • 1700, Isaac Barrow, Sermon XXII “Of Industry in our particular Calling, as Scholars,” in The Works of the Learned Isaac Barrow, D.D., London: John Tillotson, 2nd edition, Volume III, p. 226,[1]
      [] who would not chuse [] to have rather a lank purse than an empty brain [] ?
    • 1724-5, Jonathan Swift, “A Receipt. To Restore Stella’s Youth” in The Works of Jonathan Swift, London: Henry Washbourne, 1841, Volume 1, p. 687,[2]
      Meagre and lank with fasting grown,
      And nothing left but skin and bone;
    • 1820 March 5, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., number VI, New York, N.Y.: [] C. S. Van Winkle, [], →OCLC:
      The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together.
    • 1895 May 7, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, chapter 6, in The Time Machine: An Invention, New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company, →OCLC:
      [] while I stood in the dark, a hand touched mine, lank fingers came feeling over my face, and I was sensible of a peculiar unpleasant odour.
    • 1985, Cormac McCarthy, chapter 1, in Blood Meridian [] , →OCLC:
      Blacks in the fields, lank and stooped, their fingers spiderlike among the bolls of cotton.
  2. (obsolete) Meagre, paltry, scant in quantity.
    • 1659, Samuel Cradock, Knowledge & Practice, Or, A Plain Discourse of the Chief Things Necessary to be Known, Believ’d & Practised in order to Salvation, London: John Rothwell, Chapter 17, Of the Duties of the Rich, pp. 494-495,[3]
      We should think him a very imprudent Husbandman, that to save a little seed at present, would sow so thin, as to spoil his crop. And the same folly ’twill be in us, if by the sparingness and niggardize of our Almes, we make our selves a lank Harvest hereafter, and lose the reward God hath provided for the liberal Almes-giver.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      The Captain was inclined to be bald, but he brought a quantity of lank iron-grey hair over his pate, and had a couple of whisps of the same falling down on each side of his face.
  3. (of hair) Straight and flat; thin and limp. (Often associated with being greasy.)
    • 1695, John Stevens (translator), The Portugues Asia; or, The History of the Discovery and Conquest of India by the Portugues, by Manuel de Faria e Sousa, London: C. Brome, Chapter 10, p. 291,[4]
      The Inhabitants most simple, and treated them with great affection. Of Colour more inclined to white, of Body strong and comly, lank Hair, and long Beards, their Cloaths of very fine Mats []
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, (please specify |part=I to IV), page 129:
      Their heads and breasts were covered with a thick hair, some frizled, and others lank; they had beards like goats, and a long ridge of hair down their backs, and the fore-parts of their legs and feet []
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      1803 (date written), [Jane Austen], chapter I, in Northanger Abbey; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
      She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features—so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind.
    • 1849, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 3, in The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume I, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC, page 286:
      There were coffee houses where the first medical men might be consulted. [] There were Puritan coffee houses where no oath was heard, and where lank-haired men discussed election and reprobation through their noses.
    • 1940, Hugh Walpole, The Bright Pavilions[5], London: Macmillan, Part I:
      He was an exceedingly thin old man. Down from his head to his shoulders hung long, yellow, lank locks and within this enclosure was an old bony face, the forehead seamed with a thousand wrinkles.
  4. (obsolete) Languid; drooping, slack.
    • 1634, John Milton, Comus[6], lines 833–837:
      The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played,
      Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in,
      Bearing her straight to aged Nereus’ hall;
      Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
      And gave her to his daughters to imbathe []
    • 1655, William Spurstowe, chapter 18, in The Wels of Salvation Opened[7], London: Ralph Smith, pages 249–250:
      Let us weigh the promises of the one and of the other in the balance of truth, and we shall finde that the promises of God are gold, and the promises of the devil are Alchimy, such which though they glitter much, have no worth or excellency in them. [] God’s, are substantial realities, and his, vanishing and fleeting shadows windy and swollen bladders, which but a little prickt, do quickly fall and grow lank.

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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Verb

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lank (third-person singular simple present lanks, present participle lanking, simple past and past participle lanked)

  1. (rare, intransitive) To become lank.
    • c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iv]:
      [] on the Alps
      It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
      Which some did die to look on: and all this—
      It wounds thine honour that I speak it now—
      Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
      So much as lank’d not.

References

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lank”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.

Anagrams

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Afrikaans

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Etymology

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From a dialectal pronunciation of Dutch lang, from Middle Dutch lanc, from Proto-Germanic *langaz. Compare jonk.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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lank (attributive lang, comparative langer, superlative langste)

  1. long
  2. tall

Central Franconian

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Alternative forms

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  • lang (more recent variant, now widespread)

Etymology

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From Old High German lang.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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lank (masculine lange, feminine lang, comparative länger, superlative et längste)

  1. (most dialects) long
    Ich hann lang Zeck op dich jewaat.
    I’ve waited a long time for you.

Lower Sorbian

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Etymology

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From lan +‎ -k.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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lank m inan

  1. diminutive of lan

Declension

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Further reading

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  • Muka, Arnošt (1921, 1928) “lank”, in Słownik dolnoserbskeje rěcy a jeje narěcow (in German), St. Petersburg, Prague: ОРЯС РАН, ČAVU; Reprinted Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag, 2008
  • Starosta, Manfred (1999) “lank”, in Dolnoserbsko-nimski słownik / Niedersorbisch-deutsches Wörterbuch (in German), Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag

Plautdietsch

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Adjective

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lank

  1. long (in physical measure), tall

Traveller Norwegian

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Noun

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lank

  1. coffee

Zealandic

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Etymology

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From Middle Dutch lanc, from Old Dutch *lang, from Proto-Germanic *langaz.

Adjective

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lank

  1. long

Inflection

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This adjective needs an inflection-table template.