1. the side of an animal or a person between the ribs and hip.
  2. the thin piece of flesh constituting this part.
  3. a slice of meat from the flank of an animal.
  4. the side of anything, as of a building.
  5. Military, Navy. the extreme right or left side of an army or fleet, or a subdivision of an army or fleet.
  6. Fortification.
    1. the right or left side of a work or fortification.
    2. the part of a bastion that extends from the curtain to the face and protects the curtain and the opposite face.
  7. Machinery. (on a screw thread or the like) either of the two vertical inclined surfaces between the crest and the root.

verb (used with object)

  1. to stand or be placed or posted at the flank or side of.
  2. to defend or guard at the flank.
  3. Military. to menace or attack the flank of.
  4. to pass around or turn the flank of.

verb (used without object)

  1. to occupy a position at the flank or side.
  2. to present the flank or side.


  1. the side of a man or animal between the ribs and the hip
  2. (loosely) the outer part of the human thigh
  3. a cut of beef from the flank
  4. the side of anything, such as a mountain or building
  5. the side of a naval or military formation


  1. (when intr, often foll by on or upon) to be located at the side of (an object, building, etc)
  2. military to position or guard on or beside the flank of (a formation, etc)
  3. military to move past or go round (a flank)

late Old English flanc “fleshy part of the side,” from Old French flanc, probably from Frankish *hlanca (cf. Old High German (h)lanca, Middle High German lanke “hip joint,” German lenken “to bend, turn, lead”), from PIE root *kleng- “to bend, turn” (see link (n.)). The military sense is first attested 1540s, as is the verb. Related: Flanked; flanking.


  1. The side of the body between the pelvis or hip and the last rib; the side.
  2. The section of flesh in that area.
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