sink

1 of 2

verb

sank ˈsaŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) or sunk ˈsəŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) ; sunk; sinking

intransitive verb

1
a
: to go to the bottom : submerge
b
: to become partly buried (as in mud)
c
: to become engulfed
2
a(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
3
a
: 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
5
a
: to go downward in quality, state, or condition
b
: to grow less in amount or worth
6
a
: to fall or drop slowly for lack of strength
b
: to become depressed
c
: to fail in health or strength
broadly : fail

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
6
a
: 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 neighborRichard Harrison
8
: to pay off (something, such as a debt) : liquidate
9
10
: drop sense 7c
sink a putt
sink a jump shot
11
chiefly British : to drink down completely
sinkable adjective

sink

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
3
4
a
: a depression in the land surface
especially : one having a saline lake with no outlet
b
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
Phrases
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

Example Sentences

Verb 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. Noun was able to rise above the sink that was his birthplace See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Unlike chemical sunscreens, which sink into your skin to absorb UV rays and are more likely to cause irritation, mineral sunscreens are gentle and sit on the outer layer of the epidermis to reflect UV rays. Loren Brutsch, Health, 28 Jan. 2023 The cold front brings lowering snow levels that will sink to well below the Cascade passes and even into the foothills. oregonlive, 17 Jan. 2023 The consolidator is thin enough to sink into the wood and harden it, creating a solid base for filling in the missing wood. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2023 More challenges lie ahead as oil prices sink and inflation peaks. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 15 Dec. 2022 The best time to apply cologne is right after a shower, when the heat has opened your pores and your body wash and body lotion have had a chance to sink in and hydrate your skin. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 The second surprise came from leading man Tyler Nelson, who as Tamino, on opening night delivered his first lines so soft-spokenly that my heart began to sink. Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel, 29 Oct. 2022 As Barge 129 began to sink, within 15 minutes, the crew of the Maunaloa helped the second crew to board their ship. Miriam Marini, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2022 As Barge 129 began to sink, within 15 minutes, the crew of the Maunaloa helped the second crew to board their ship. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near sink

Cite this Entry

“Sink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sink. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

sink

1 of 2 verb
sank ˈsaŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) or sunk ˈsəŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) ; sunk; sinking
1
a
: to move or cause to move downward usually so as to be below the surface or swallowed up
feet sinking into deep mud
sink a ship
b
: to descend gradually lower and lower
the sun sank behind the hills
2
: to lessen in amount or strength
3
: to fall to or into a lower status (as of quality, worth, or number) : decline
sink into decay
4
a
: to penetrate or cause to penetrate
sank my ax into the tree
b
: to become absorbed
the water sank into the dry ground
5
: to form by digging or boring
sink a well
6
: invest entry 2 sense 1
sank a million dollars in the new company
7
: to fail in strength, spirits, or health
my heart sank
sinkable adjective

sink

2 of 2 noun
1
2
: a stationary basin for washing (as in a kitchen) connected with a drain and usually a water supply

More from Merriam-Webster on sink

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