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bun·​ker ˈbəŋ-kər How to pronounce bunker (audio)
: a bin or compartment for storage
especially : one on shipboard for the ship's fuel
: a protective embankment or dugout
especially : a fortified chamber mostly below ground often built of reinforced concrete and provided with embrasures
: a sand trap or embankment constituting a hazard on a golf course


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bunkered; bunkering ˈbəŋ-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce bunker (audio)

intransitive verb

: to fill a ship's bunker with coal or oil

transitive verb

: to place or store in a bunker
: to hit (a golf ball or shot) into a bunker

Examples of bunker in a Sentence

Noun The ammunition is stored in concrete bunkers. Verb She bunkered her tee shot. They bunkered just enough coal to get them to the port.
Recent Examples on the Web
The first tropical links course of its kind, the layout boasts pot bunkers and sloping fairways and greens and is a favorite among Tour pros, including the Senior Open champion, Open champion, Ryder Cup captain, and Abaco Club Ambassador Darren Clarke, who calls the club home while not on tour. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024 In the bunker, General Dvoretskiy pointed to communications equipment and large computer servers, some of which were financed by the C.I.A. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 The next day, Karp was escorted into the fortified bunker of the presidential palace, becoming the first leader of a major Western company to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since Russia’s invasion three months earlier. TIME, 8 Feb. 2024 Amidst heavy fighting, particularly against the quasi-private military firm the Wagner Group, Ukrainian fighters used the mine tunnels as bunkers to frustrate their advance. Justin Ling, WIRED, 21 Mar. 2024 The rugged two-square-mile island has hundreds of Cold War-era bunkers and tunnels designed to withstand nuclear attack and has been largely vacant since the end of the Soviet Union. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Two burned out trailers and a pile of junk extend around the perimeter, with what looks like a bunker of trash lying a few paces beyond. Jonah Gercke, SPIN, 15 Mar. 2024 The only element added in post was the slight sound of wind for the three locations in the scene: the bunker and two spectator viewpoints. Beatrice Verhoeven, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Feb. 2024 Cantlay's tee shot on the par-3 16th clipped a tree and came down short of the bunkers, even short of the temporary green, leaving him some 50 yards from an impossible spot. Doug Ferguson, USA TODAY, 16 Feb. 2024
The 2012 49ers bunkered at a French Quarter hotel in New Orleans before falling to the Baltimore Ravens 34-31. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 5 Feb. 2024 As the game lurched into the 70th and then 80th minute, Phoenix seemed content to bunker in a five-man back line and weather the San Diego storm. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Oct. 2023 Several agencies are assisting with medical evacuations and conducting welfare checks as locals emerge after bunkering down amid Idalia. NBC News, 31 Aug. 2023 Vietnam will bunker against superior rivals and rely on the counter and getting the ball to forwards Nhu and Pham Hai Yen. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, 20 July 2023 In recent years, Vladimir Putin has run much of his Presidency in the most splendid isolation, bunkered away in palaces from the wooded suburbs of Moscow to the shore of the Black Sea. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 24 June 2023 For the first three days of Sudan’s latest eruption of armed conflict, the 23-year-old dental student bunkered in his apartment in Khartoum, watching the fighting rage close to his neighborhood in the Sudanese capital but feeling relatively unconcerned. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2023 After spending the past five months bunkered at the league’s hub in Texas, Buckley had time to reflect on the twists and turns of a 10-week season that ended with a 1-9 record. Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel, 25 Apr. 2023 Kelly denounced the tweet as harming a marginalized community, while Musk bunkered down in the Twitter reply trenches. Julia Malleck, Quartz, 19 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bunker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Scots bonker chest, box

First Known Use


1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bunker was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near bunker

Cite this Entry

“Bunker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bunker. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a large bin (as for coal or oil on a ship)
: a shelter dug into the ground and made strong against attack

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Bun·​ker ˈbəŋ-kər How to pronounce Bunker (audio)
Ellsworth 1894–1984 American diplomat
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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