\ ˈsiŋk \
sank\ˈsaŋk \ or sunk\ˈsəŋk \; sunk; sinking

Definition of sink 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to go to the bottom : submerge

b : to become partly buried (as in mud)

c : to become engulfed

2a(1) : to fall or drop to a lower place or level

(2) : to flow at a lower depth or level

(3) : to burn with lower intensity

(4) : to fall to a lower pitch or volume his voice sank to a whisper

b : to subside gradually : settle

c : to disappear from view

d : to slope gradually : dip

3a : to soak or become absorbed : penetrate

b : to become impressively known or felt the lesson had sunk in

4 : to become deeply absorbed sank into reverie

5a : to go downward in quality, state, or condition

b : to grow less in amount or worth

6a : to fall or drop slowly for lack of strength

b : to become depressed

c : to fail in health or strength broadly : fail

transitive verb

1a : to cause to sink sink a battleship

b : to force down especially below the earth's surface

c : to cause (something) to penetrate

2 : immerse, absorb he sank himself into his studies

3a : to dig or bore (a well or shaft) in the earth : excavate

b : to form by cutting or excising sink words in stone

4 : to cast down or bring to a low condition or state : overwhelm, defeat

5 : to lower in standing or reputation : abase

6a : to lessen in value or amount

b : to lower or soften (the voice) in speaking

7 : restrain, suppress sinks her pride and approaches the despised neighbor —Richard Harrison

8 : to pay off (something, such as a debt) : liquidate

10 : drop sense 7c sink a putt sink a jump shot

11 chiefly British : to drink down completely

sink one's teeth into

1 : to bite into

2 : to eagerly devote one's attention to likes to sink her teeth into a good book



Definition of sink (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a pool or pit for the deposit of waste or sewage : cesspool

b : a ditch or tunnel for carrying off sewage : sewer

c : a stationary basin connected with a drain and usually a water supply for washing and drainage

2 : a place where vice, corruption, or evil collects

4a : a depression in the land surface especially : one having a saline lake with no outlet

b : sinkhole

5 : a body or process that acts as a storage device or disposal mechanism: such as

a : heat sink broadly : a device that collects or dissipates energy (such as radiation)

b : a reactant with or absorber of a substance forests are a sink for carbon dioxide

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Other words from sink


sinkable \ˈsiŋ-kə-bəl \ adjective

Examples of sink in a Sentence


The passengers were rescued from the boat before it sank. The rock sank to the bottom of the pool. My foot sank into the deep mud. She sank up to her knees in the snow. The torpedo sank the ship. The sun sank behind the hills. She sank back into the cozy chair. The temperature sinks quickly after the sun sets. The lake's water level is slowly sinking. His strength is slowly sinking.


was able to rise above the inner-city sink that was his birthplace
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Lake Toba sinking two weeks ago was the worst in about a decade. Fox News, "Passengers rescued from stricken Indonesia ferry; 29 dead," 3 July 2018 Span ended the inning with an impressive sliding/diving grab on Tim Beckham’s sinking liner to left. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Thanks to the schedule, Mariners seem back on track after 5-3 victory in Baltimore," 25 June 2018 By taking advantage of this, the district is to raise the M&O by two cents to $1.06 and lower the interest and sinking rate by two cents to 38 cents, thus swapping funds. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Cy-Fair ISD sets its 2018-19 budget at $931 million," 15 June 2018 That kind of kitchen sink approach, combined with the fact that many criminal laws involving guns fall within the categories Scalia identified, lead to a low rate of success of Second Amendment claims in criminal cases: 6 percent overall. Joseph Blocher And Eric Ruben, Vox, "The Second Amendment allows for more gun control than you think," 14 June 2018 Duran features a sinking fastball that has clocked near 100 mph. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "20-something: Hard-throwing Cougars pitcher Jhoan Duran living up to his potential," 10 June 2018 The floral display, which included white roses, was set in Kensington Palace’s sunken garden. Char Adams,, "The Sweet Way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Honored Princess Diana During Their Royal Wedding," 19 May 2018 Smart luggage is an experiment that, like MiniDiscs or Heelys, was doomed to fail from the start—the latest regulations are just lead weights on an already sinking ship. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Smart Luggage, the End Is Nigh," 18 May 2018 And lawmakers, veterans advocates, and current and former department leaders fear that sinking morale could erase the progress the department has made in recent years. Anchorage Daily News, "VA medical system staggers as chaos engulfs its leadership," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sink


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sink


Middle English, from Old English sincan; akin to Old High German sinkan to sink

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Statistics for sink

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sink

The first known use of sink was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sink



English Language Learners Definition of sink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to go down below the surface of water, mud, etc.

: to cause (a ship or boat) to go down below the surface of water

: to move down to a lower position



English Language Learners Definition of sink (Entry 2 of 2)

: a wide bowl that has a faucet for water and a drain at the bottom and is usually positioned in a counter or on a pedestal


\ ˈsiŋk \
sank\ˈsaŋk \ or sunk\ˈsəŋk \; sunk; sinking

Kids Definition of sink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or cause to move downward so as to be swallowed up The ship sank.

2 : to fall or drop to a lower level They both sank gratefully to the floor. —Jane Yolen, The Devil's Arithmetic

3 : to penetrate or cause to penetrate He sank an ax into the tree.

4 : to go into or become absorbed Water sank into the ground.

5 : to become known or felt She had to let the news sink in.

6 : to lessen in amount The temperature sank.

7 : to form by digging or boring We'll sink a well for water.

8 : to spend (money) unwisely

9 : to descend into a feeling of sadness or dread When I realized I had not won, my heart sank.



Kids Definition of sink (Entry 2 of 2)

: a wide bowl or basin attached to a wall or floor and having water faucets and a drain

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Comments on sink

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a magnificent or impressive array

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