prisoner rushed the warden with a shank


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He had white hair and his hands shook with some sort of palsy, but he was strong. The year before, when a prisoner had rushed him in the exercise yard with a shank whittled out of a crate-slat, Moores had stood his ground, grabbed the skatehound’s wrist, and had twisted it so hard that the snapping bones had sounded like dry twigs burning in a hot fire.
Source: The Green Mile by Stephen King
Context: The narrator (who is the death row head guard) is describing warden Moores at Cold Mountain’s penitentiary.

What does shank in bold mean?

palsy: trembling of the muscles
shank: the straight narrow part between the two ends of a tool or an object - the shank of a key
to whittle: to form a piece of wood, etc. into a particular shape by cutting small pieces from it - whittle A (from B) He whittled a simple toy from the piece of wood.
slat: one of a series of thin flat pieces of wood, metal or plastic, used in furniture, fences, etc. - a gate made of wooden slats.

Thank you.
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