\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

Gilmore tugged up her shorts and waded into the basin, sandals sinking deep into chocolatey mud. Ben Goldfarb, Science | AAAS, "Beaver dams without beavers? Artificial logjams are a popular but controversial restoration tool," 7 June 2018 But one investment—$20m sunk into Alibaba—is regarded as one of the best in history. The Economist, "The impact of Masayoshi Son’s $100bn tech fund will be profound," 10 May 2018 The cringeworthy juxtaposition of evangelical leaders praying with Trump, as allegations of infidelity and hush money played out on TV, might have sunk a lesser president. Tina Nguyen, The Hive, "“The Stormy News Cycle Cancels Out Russia”: Amid the President’s Legal Chernobyl, MAGA Nation Gives Trump Two Thumbs Up," 4 May 2018 When the island sank into recession, Prepa’s finances worsened as business and residential demand for power declined. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Utility Directors Resign, Alleging Political Interference," 12 July 2018 Fred Jones says the gator sank back into the water and didn’t re-emerge. Mike Schneider, The Seattle Times, "Deputy shoots hissing gator, saves girl in tree," 2 July 2018 The alligator sank into the water and did not reappear, the report said. Martin E. Comas,, "Lake deputy shoots gator with AR-15, freeing girl trapped in tree," 2 July 2018 Clive probably threw everything and the kitchen sink at radio to make sure this record got its play. Nolan Feeney, Billboard, "How Did She Get Here? The Oral History of Deborah Cox's 'Nobody's Supposed to Be Here'," 31 May 2018 The final theatrical poster (released by Popular Mechanics) threw the kitchen sink at fans. Chris Thilk, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Deadpool 2' Marketing Blitz Bets on Too Much Being Just Enough," 14 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

24 Oct 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

What made you want to look up sink? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a private place of worship

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