orgin: prison slang
A homemade knife.
made out of scrap of metal found anywhere and sharpend like a knife. and bottom tightly wrapped with a cloth as a handle.
to be stabbed by a homemade knife.
I heard he got hit with a rusty shank.
1. Any crude, sharp weapon created from otherwise non-imposing objects. Screwdrivers, socket wrenches and hammers are not considered "shanks" because (a) they are not homemade, (b) they are not "crude," improvised weapons, (c) tools are inherently dangerous to begin with, and (d) none of them, with the exception of the screwdriver, are sharp objects. Shanks are created by the desperate for the purpose of stabbing, not bludgeoning.
A true shank would be something like:
- A broken piece of glass with a wrapped towel for a handle.
- A broken piece of plexiglass. Prison lunch trays are made of plexiglass, so shattering one might yield a suitable shank.
- A sharpened piece of wood, usually whittled into a stake rather than a shank, but as it is used for stabbing it is considered a shank nonetheless.
- A sharpened piece of scrap metal. Can be pilfered from just about anywhere.
2. A shank is also the U-shaped part of a padlock, or any other narrow-but-essential part of an object.
2. "I can't lock this damn thing; I think the shank needs oiling."