- ‘Shanks’ is a Scottish surname. The name has two possible origins, the first was given to people who lived in and around the Land of Shank, in Midlothian, Scotland. The surname is still found throughout Scotland with high concentrations in North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen in particular. The second origin of the surname was given to people who had long legs or a peculiarity of gait, as this origin of the surname comes from the Old English word ‘Sceanca’ meaning leg which evolved over time into the word ‘Shank’ or ‘Shanks.’ This word remained in common use in Scotland, still being used today. However, in England it was replaced by the Norse word ‘Leggr’ which is why in Modern English the word leg is used instead of the word shank.
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