sunk·​en | \ ˈsəŋ-kən \

Definition of sunken

1 : submerged especially : lying at the bottom of a body of water
2a : hollow, recessed sunken cheeks
b : lying in a depression a sunken garden
c : settled below the normal level
d : constructed below the normal floor level a sunken living room

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Examples of sunken in a Sentence

Her eyes were sunken and lifeless. our convalescing guest's sunken cheeks soon filled out on a diet of my mother's cooking

Recent Examples on the Web

The sunken vessel was eventually found through underwater sonar surveys northwest of St. George, resting on its port side in some 250 feet of water. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Freezing spray probably sank Seattle-based Destination, NTSB finds," 12 July 2018 The home’s main level includes a kitchen and dining space that leads down to a sunken living room. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern home revolves around massive sculptural staircase," 5 Sep. 2018 Using this technique, submarines could send signals to passing aircraft, underwater robots could send information back to their operators, and crashed airplanes or sunken ships could send out messages to rescuers. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Clever New Tech Could Let Subs and Planes Talk Directly," 22 Aug. 2018 Attractions include a turtle sanctuary and rehabilitation center, Garrafon Natural Reef Park, with its sculpture garden and minor Mayan ruins, and the Cancún Underwater Museum of Art, whose hundreds of sunken statues offer snorkelers rare diversion. Sara Clemence, WSJ, "7 Beach Resorts You Can Still Book for Christmas Week," 25 Oct. 2018 Use black eyeshadow to contour around your eyes, nose, cheeks and eyebrow, and add some highlighter to give your face a more sunken look. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "The Scariest Halloween Makeup Tutorials," 8 Oct. 2018 The bartenders are snappy and gracious, corralled within a large sunken square, and the glassware feels… familiar. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "A Clear-Eyed Assessment of the New Four Seasons—By Someone Who Loved the Old One," 7 Sep. 2018 That was my first time pulling a person out of a sunken car in a canal. Kimberly Rapanut, azcentral, "'The system worked': What led to rescue of woman from Mesa canal," 11 July 2018 While the official death toll is 44, the actual toll is 45 because the body of one of three people listed as missing is trapped under the sunken Phoenix. Fox News, "Thai police: Investigations into boat sinkings are advancing," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sunken.' 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 sunken

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sunken

Middle English sonkyn, past participle of sinken to sink

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Statistics for sunken

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sunken

The first known use of sunken was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for sunken



English Language Learners Definition of sunken

: completely covered with water : lying at the bottom of a sea, lake, etc.

: curving inward because of illness, age, etc.

: lying or built at a lower level than the surrounding area


sunk·​en | \ ˈsəŋ-kən \

Kids Definition of sunken

1 : fallen in : hollow Zero's face looked like a jack-o'-lantern … with sunken eyes and a drooping smile.— Louis Sachar, Holes
2 : lying at the bottom of a body of water sunken ships
3 : built or settled below the surrounding or normal level a sunken garden

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More from Merriam-Webster on sunken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sunken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sunken

Spanish Central: Translation of sunken

Nglish: Translation of sunken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sunken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sunken

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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