\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

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Other Words from tank


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

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

Every few hours, two teams fill up 2,000-gallon tanks of water from a hydrant outside the facility, then drive them back through the fences. Garance Burke And Martha Mendoza, The Seattle Times, "US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp," 28 Nov. 2018 That booster then hit the fuel tank of the central part of the rocket, lurching it violently off course. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Russia’s space agency reveals why last month’s rocket launch failed," 1 Nov. 2018 According to the Guardian, other heart-racing tricks on the show have included a man escaping within a short amount of time while suspended upside down in a tank of water and while taking a chainsaw to another man. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Illusionists of 'America's Got Talent' Have a Surprisingly Familiar Face In Their Cast," 22 Aug. 2018 Another moves 200-pound tanks of carbon dioxide for a job creating special effects for Broadway shows. Dave Philipps, BostonGlobe.com, "Instead of a ban, transgender military recruits hit red tape," 6 July 2018 Passers-by on Ogden Avenue will glimpse the purple glow of the energy-efficient lights in the plant nursery and, eventually, the tilapia swimming in the massive blue tanks of the aquaponic system, providing nutrients to the plants. Greg Trotter, chicagotribune.com, "Farm on Ogden aims to bring fresh produce and jobs to troubled North Lawndale," 12 June 2018 In American cities, where public transport is often scarce and connections are slow, having the money for an extra tank of fuel, or even a lease on a cheap car, might save new parents tens of hours every week. The Economist, "Does growing up poor harm brain development?," 3 May 2018 The last one is bioreactors, or the big tanks that the process happens inside of. Angela Chen, The Verge, "These are the technology advances that could end animal farming," 9 Nov. 2018 Hadid wore a velour bomber—a clever riff on the traditional flight jacket—which elevated the simple ribbed tank underneath. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Rejects the Beige Trend for a New Fall Neutral," 7 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the portfolio tanked when the tech bubble burst in 2000, leading Mr. Allen to write off some of his investments entirely and lay off Vulcan staff. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Dies at 65," 16 Oct. 2018 The music business tanked eventually, not ’cause of you. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn returns to Recode Media with Peter Kafka," 23 Aug. 2018 His popularity in the state tanked, something that highlighted several of his vulnerabilities. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The race to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Democrats’ white whale, explained," 13 Aug. 2018 Oil prices tanked after Walker took office, exploding Alaska’s budget deficit. Washington Post, "Ex-US senator’s entry causes angst in Alaska governor’s race," 3 July 2018 The Hawks tanked this season and finished tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the league’s third-worst record at 24-58. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce gets Atlanta Hawks head coaching job," 11 May 2018 Unable to match post-World War II competition, Sutho tanked a few months after moving into the building designed by the late Indianapolis architect Joseph Cezar. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Double 8 grocery stores: Here's what they are now," 1 May 2018 But once their star point guard was shelved, the team tanked. Al Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can the Warriors win without Steph Curry?," 12 Apr. 2018 The Coyotes tanked a season to acquire a transcendent talent in the NHL draft, only to miss out on both Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Dan Bickley, azcentral, "Bickley: Arizona Coyotes' Clayton Keller is the light at the end of the tunnel," 5 Apr. 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.

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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

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Statistics for tank

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tank

The first known use of tank was in 1609

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tank

Spanish Central: Translation of tank

Nglish: Translation of tank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tank for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tank

Comments on tank

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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