\ˈtaŋk \

Definition of tank 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually large receptacle for holding, transporting, or storing liquids (such as water or fuel)

2 : an enclosed heavily armed and armored combat vehicle that moves on tracks

3 : tank top

4 dialect : pond, pool especially : one built as a water supply

5 : a prison cell or enclosure used especially for receiving prisoners

in the tank or into the tank

: in or into a decline or slump the sullen student's grades went into the tank


tanked; tanking; tanks

Definition of tank (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make no effort to win : lose intentionally tanked the match

2 : to place, store, or treat in a tank

intransitive verb

1 : to lose intentionally : give up in competition

2 : to suffer rapid decline, failure, or collapse bought a stock that quickly tanked

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tank


tankful \ˈtaŋk-ˌfu̇l \ noun
tanklike \ˈtaŋk-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tank

Synonyms: Verb

bomb, collapse, fail, flop, flunk, fold, founder, miss, wash out

Antonyms: Verb

click, come off, deliver, go, go over, pan out, succeed, work out

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of tank in a Sentence


Some people say she deliberately tanked the match. Some people have accused her of tanking.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Officials quickly called the bomb disposal unit to remove and dispose of the 3 inch caliber dud tank artillery shell. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "American tourist takes unexploded World War II shell to Vienna Airport," 12 July 2018 On a recent visit, Lynas technicians mixed rare earth concentrate, which looks to the untrained eye like unremarkable dirt, into chemical tanks that extract elements like lanthanum and cerium. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "How Rare Earths (What?) Could Be Crucial in a U.S.-China Trade War," 11 July 2018 Neighbors reported hearing propane tanks explode, prompting responders to evacuate residents from both properties. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Propane tanks explode, vintage camping trailers destroyed in Folsom fire," 11 July 2018 And since tanks connect to a regulator or mask with tubes, a diver could easily have his equipment jerked from his body. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "The Daring Rescue that Saved the Thai Soccer Team," 10 July 2018 Other offerings include an inflatable obstacle course, bungee run, and dunk tank provided by the Connecticut National Guard, in addition to family-friendly activities, music, lawn games and more. Courant Community, "Community News For The Stafford Edition," 10 July 2018 When divers needed wetsuits, air tanks and regulators, volunteers collected hundreds more than needed. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "The Thai Cave Rescue, Before Its Triumph, Teetered on the Brink of Disaster," 11 July 2018 During the harsh rules, authorities occasionally proclaimed martial law and other decrees that allowed them to station combat soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles on streets or at public places like schools to prevent anti-government demonstrations. Hyung-jin Kim, The Seattle Times, "South Korea to probe military plan to quell Park protests," 10 July 2018 In the Marine Tent, kids of all ages have hands-on educational opportunities, including sea life touch tank and lobster trap building demonstrations. Necee Regis, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Oil prices tanked after Walker took office, exploding Alaska's budget deficit. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Sen. Mark Begich’s entry causes angst in Alaska governor’s race," 4 July 2018 But thanks to a tanking economy and an unexpectedly spirited performance by the opposition, the race is proving tighter than expected, both for him and his Justice and Development Party. New York Times, "Turkey’s Election: What to Watch For," 24 June 2018 On Friday, the Dow tanked 280 points in the morning, then bounced back to close the day down just 85 points. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Tit-for-Tat: Trump and Xi Both Think the Other Guy is Bluffing," 16 June 2018 After the accident, her social skills tanked, but the Y job has forced her to reclaim that part of her personality. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "A bike accident left her unable to speak, walk or eat; here's what her life looks like now," 10 June 2018 And without the water, people stopped wanting to come to the camp — so the business tanked, too. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 Idaho tanked in two of the categories, ranking 51st in child care and 48th in professional opportunities. Nicole Blanchard, idahostatesman, "This study named Idaho the worst state for working moms. Here's why. | Idaho Statesman," 7 May 2018 An expected victory over the tanking Mavs, would also extend the Sixers’ winning streak to 14 games for the first time since Dec. 21, 1982 to Jan. 21, 1983. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers-Mavs preview: Brett Brown's squad looking for 50th win," 8 Apr. 2018 The Freedom Caucus is known for tanking major pieces of legislation in their bid to make policy more conservative. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Meet the Democrat trying to unseat scandal-plagued Rep. Jim Jordan in his heavily Republican district," 11 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of tank


1609, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1863, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for tank


Portuguese tanque, alteration of estanque, from estancar to stanch, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *stanticare — more at stanch

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tank

Dictionary Entries near tank








Phrases Related to tank

tank up

Statistics for tank

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tank

The first known use of tank was in 1609

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tank



English Language Learners Definition of tank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a container for holding a liquid or gas

: the amount that a tank will hold

: a military vehicle that moves on two large metal belts with wheels inside them and that is covered in heavy armor



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

: to be very unsuccessful : to fail completely

: to make no effort to win a contest (such as a tennis match) : to deliberately lose a game, match, etc.


\ˈtaŋk \

Kids Definition of tank

1 : an often large container for a liquid water tank fish tank

2 : an enclosed combat vehicle that has heavy armor and guns and a tread which is an endless belt

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tank

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


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!