Armitage Shanks – 4 Definitions

My Younger Son refers to my OOA as “Armitage Shanks”…. as in, “What are you watching? Oh, Armitage Shanks again?” Apparently, he finds this endlessly funny!

So, let’s explore the possible definitions of “Armitage Shanks”:

  1. Armatage Shanks (sic) – The Song:

My Family are big Green Day fans, owning all the albums and being represented at each of the last two Vancouver concerts. Legend has it that during the band’s first tour to England, Billie Joe Armstrong was struck by the name seen on all the urinals there. Writing a song after a break-up, and feeling like his life and thoughts were going down the drain, he called it “Armatage Shanks” using a slightly altered spelling.

Stranded… lost inside myself
My own worst friend
And my own closest enemy

2. Armitage Shanks – The Urinal:

This was apparently the inspiration for the song above.ash_sanura_s610001_wcuto_gb_s6285aa_preview According to the company website:

Armitage Shanks is a British institution with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century. Its specialisation in commercial products has made it the market leader in non-residential washrooms.

3. Armitage Shanks – The Knives:

Well, now we’re getting closer!  According to “The Online Slang Dictionary”, a “shank” is “a makeshift object used for stabbing”. While John Porter used an actual knife during Episode 2 of Strike Back, he certainly was resourceful in the way he transported the knife to have it at hand when needed.

4. Armitage Shanks – The Legs:

Finally, here we are at the pièce de résistance, the Armitage Shanks that the discerning eye will appreciate. The first definition in the “Oxford Living Dictionary” defines “shank” as “A person’s [in this case Armitage’s] leg, especially the part from the knee to the ankle.” Here are several prime examples for your viewing pleasure:

So, with this final (and most enjoyable) definition, I can finally agree confidently:

“Yes! I am watching Armitage Shanks!”

11 thoughts on “Armitage Shanks – 4 Definitions

  1. Oh, I never knew about that Green Day song!
    But yes, the Armitage Shanks logo is ubiquitous here in the British Isles, too. And it never fails to amuse me. (I have countless photographs of Armitage Shanks loos and sinks. Not sure what for…)
    I was also extremely amused when I came across an Armitage Shanks branded toilet as far away as New Zealand. Even better: It was in a hotel that had supposedly been used by the cast and crew of The Hobbit when they were filming on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu.
    I much rather like the interpretation of “shanks” as legs, though. Those I would photograph, too…


  2. I agree with your son, referring to Richard as ‘Armitage Shanks’ is endlessly funny! I associate his long legs with the moniker but my fangirl heart gave a giddy pitter-patter when I was visiting Scotland and used an Armitage Shanks sink 😀


  3. It pays to increase your word power!

    Back when I did my “Armitage thanks” vid, someone remarked that it reminded them of Armitage Shanks. That was my first introduction to the plumbing dimension of this story.


  4. oh, ps: “to shank someone” is also an expression for killing someone by stabbing, this word comes up a lot in contexts that have to do with prisons in the U.S.


      • I usually think of a “shank” as an improvised weapon — like a toothbrush filed down to a very sharp point — as opposed to something like a sword. Its appeal (if you can call it that) lies in the fact that it is something that a prison guard wouldn’t immediately recognize as a weapon. if you google images of shanks you’ll see what I mean. But I think it can also be used for small knives, etc.


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