\ ˈtaŋk How to pronounce tank (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tankful (audio) \ noun
tanklike \ ˈtaŋk-​ˌlīk How to pronounce tanklike (audio) \ 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

The impellers role was to stir the liquid oxygen stored in the tank, but the component kept failing under the massive load. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "The Saturn V Story: From Nazi Roots to America's Moon Rocket," 6 Feb. 2019 For a lot of people, having some fuel in the tank before exercising can mean the difference between a productive workout and a lousy one (or even passing out during a deadlift, which, yes, actually happens). Casey Johnston, SELF, "Ask a Swole Woman: Are Fasted Workouts Safe?," 4 Oct. 2018 Their crew name, generated think-tank style by Rachelle, came about as a play on words from the depths of one of the darkest places on earth: the Youtube comment section. Rajni Lucienne Jacques, Teen Vogue, "The "Skate Kitchen" All-Girl Crew Knows Their Visibility Matters," 8 Aug. 2018 During a science summer camp in the Bahamas, Wright-Fairbanks conducted an experiment in which fish were given the choice between swimming in a tank with acidic water or an adjacent one with a hungry shark. Eric Niiler, National Geographic, "The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means," 15 June 2018 Authorities spent hours replenishing air tanks along the cave's treacherous exit route. Fox News, "Thailand cave rescue operation suspended as 4 more boys freed, bringing total to 8," 2 Oct. 2018 He had been tasked with placing extra oxygen tanks inside the cave called Tham Luang. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Thailand cave rescue shows what true heroism is all about," 9 July 2018 Boonyaluck and local authorities confirmed that Kunam lost consciousness after placing oxygen tanks in the cave complex. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Former Thai Navy SEAL Dies During Rescue Effort to Save Youth Soccer Team Trapped in Cave," 6 July 2018 The Center for Security Policy is a conservative think-tank that has been criticized for promoting hate against Muslims, a claim the group has denied. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "National Security Council official denounces Michigan's Muslims," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’s all come at a time when sedan sales are absolutely tanking in the US, causing major automakers like Ford and Fiat Chrysler to go all-in on lineups that almost exclusively feature SUVs and trucks. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla’s Model Y crossover is ready for production, Elon Musk says," 25 Oct. 2018 But there is no way policy makers can allow such a massive amount of debt to go under without tanking the banking system and the bond market. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China’s Fiscal Song And Dance Could Trip Up Investors," 13 Sep. 2018 The lottery has been around since 1985, was tweaked to a weighted system in 1990 and will be changing again next year in an effort to discourage teams from tanking. Tim Reynolds, Houston Chronicle, "Suns land No. 1 overall pick in NBA draft," 16 May 2018 Looking at the 76ers, from tanking to solidifying is their way. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Is cap space enough in a potential trade of Hassan Whiteside?," 27 Apr. 2018 Nvidia shares have tanked and the Vision Fund stake appeared to lose about $4 billion over the final three months of 2018. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "This Tech Company Isn’t a Bank, But It Might Be a Hedge Fund," 6 Feb. 2019 Student loans, even those that financed worthless degrees, won’t tank the financial system: there aren’t enough and most are federally guaranteed. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 11 Sep. 2018 Being able to dive behind cover and heal when necessary makes players slightly harder to kill and allows you, in some situations, to even tank damage in order to get a retaliatory kill. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War games, now with battle royale!," 19 Oct. 2018 Apparently, last summer at the White House picnic, Collins got an email telling him his major investment was tanking. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Is the Blue Wave Spooking “Your Favorite President?”," 12 Aug. 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

8 Apr 2019

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)

US, informal
: 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 How to pronounce tank (audio) \

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

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


an enemy or opponent

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