1 of 2


: a usually large receptacle for holding, transporting, or storing liquids (such as water or fuel)
: an enclosed heavily armed and armored combat vehicle that moves on tracks
dialect : pond, pool
especially : one built as a water supply
: a prison cell or enclosure used especially for receiving prisoners
tankful noun
tanklike adjective


2 of 2


tanked; tanking; tanks

transitive verb

: to make no effort to win : lose intentionally
tanked the match
: to place, store, or treat in a tank

intransitive verb

: to lose intentionally : give up in competition
: to suffer rapid decline, failure, or collapse
bought a stock that quickly tanked
in the tank or into the tank
: in or into a decline or slump
the sullen student's grades went into the tank

Examples of tank in a Sentence

Verb Some people say she deliberately tanked the match. Some people have accused her of tanking.
Recent Examples on the Web
Israeli tanks used their tracks to draw the Star of David in the ground. Palestinians search for survivors after an Israeli strike in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Wednesday. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2023 Her home has been hit twice by artillery and tank fire, most recently demolishing the kitchen and damaging part of her niece’s bedroom. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Nov. 2023 Water levels in the Danube River fell low enough to expose Nazi military ruins—a jeep, a tank. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2023 A lot of them, if they can be safely removed from the top of the gas tank, are usually faded or damaged or all in bits and pieces. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 20 Nov. 2023 Hundreds of thousands have fled to the south, leaving a silence broken only by the pop of machine-gun fire and the heavy thrum of Israeli tanks. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2023 For months, the aerial vehicles supplied by Quantum Systems, a German technology firm, had worked smoothly for Ukraine’s military, swooping through the air to spot enemy tanks and troops in the country’s war against Russia. Aaron Krolik, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 SpaceX’s new system involves flooding 358,000 gallons of water from ground tanks into steel plates and releasing them through holes in the plating, as the Fish and Wildlife assessment describes it. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 Small temperature fluctuations inside the tanks can cause methane and liquid oxygen to boil off, or transition from a liquid to a gas, and be lost. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 17 Nov. 2023
For Volvo Car, getting a better valuation seems to require tanking the stock price. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2023 Spices, seasonings, and other flavor-boosters Cold, flu, COVID, and even allergy symptoms can weaken your senses of taste and smell and tank your appetite. Christine Byrne, Mph, SELF, 13 Nov. 2023 The complaint argues that the purchase tanked the company’s share price. Bylila MacLellan, Fortune, 24 Oct. 2023 The Cards, who seem to be actively tanking, took down the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, 28-16. Ryan Morik, Fox News, 24 Sep. 2023 Facing a possible mutiny from defense hawks threatening to tank the agreement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledged to bring a supplemental defense spending bill up for a vote later in the year. Emily Jacobs, Washington Examiner, 19 Sep. 2023 The Orioles tanked and now they are bound for the playoffs. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 But Republican populism has also come at a cost: Republican identification among the college-educated has tanked. Heather Wilhelm, National Review, 9 Nov. 2023 But no, the Patriots shouldn’t tank two games into the season. Christopher Price, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tank.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1609, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1863, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of tank was in 1609

Dictionary Entries Near tank

Cite this Entry

“Tank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tank. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a usually large container for holding, transporting, or storing liquids
: an enclosed heavily armed and armored combat vehicle that moves on beltlike tracks


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

More from Merriam-Webster on tank

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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