\ 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

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

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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

Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, died after delivering air tanks to the team on July 5th. The Economist, "Deliverance for Thailand’s cave-trapped footballers," 12 July 2018 As people celebrated, many also took time to remember former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died Friday placing air tanks in the cave system in preparation for the rescue that would come two days later. George Styllis, latimes.com, "From mission impossible to mission accomplished: Thailand rejoices as last boys rescued from cave," 11 July 2018 And a retired Thai SEAL diver, Saman Gunan, 38, died during the effort to bring air tanks into the cave to aid in the rescue. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 Early Friday, a former Thai Navy SEAL diver died after losing consciousness while returning from placing air tanks deep inside the caves. NBC News, "Thailand cave rescue set to resume for 9 still trapped," 9 July 2018 The conditions are also extremely difficult that swimming across would be a several hour journey — a danger highlighted when a former Thai SEAL died on Thursday while delivering air tanks to the group. Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY, "Thailand cave rescue: Coach apologizes to parents; boys say 'don't worry' in letters," 7 July 2018 Stop, hit the blocks, get a full tank of retardant and fuel in 15 minutes ... Julia Sclafani And Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Seen those tankers above Sacramento? The low-down on Cal Fire's biggest base at McClellan," 3 July 2018 The concierge staff then delivers the vehicle — washed and with a full tank of gas — to the customer. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "For Nearly $3,000 a Month, Mercedes-Benz Is Giving Customers Unlimited Access to Its Fleet," 5 June 2018 First of all, Kang says, HIV isn’t easy to grow in culture, and regulators don’t like the idea of someone having a big tank of HIV. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Man Who Says Science Blew Its Best Shot at an AIDS Vaccine," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Losing to the Knicks, who are tanking, would've been on that list. Joe Vardon, cleveland.com, "Cavaliers capture potentially meaningful Central Division title in 123-109 win over Knicks," 9 Apr. 2018 The construction was put on hold indefinitely after the price of organic milk tanked during the past year and a half, Dykstra said. Julia-grace Sanders, The Seattle Times, "Area organic dairy farmers struggle with low milk prices," 8 Apr. 2018 Daniels, naturally, also doesn't believe the Rangers are tanking. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Surprise Five: Are Rangers one of the MLB teams tanking this season? | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 19 Mar. 2018 Again, this does not mean the Spurs should tank in a traditional sense. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "If Spurs slide, there might be a bright side," 23 Feb. 2018 Another way The 76ers have developed a power behind several seasons of tanking, enabling them to draft two budding young stars in center Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Maybe Detroit Pistons should 'Trust the Process' like surging Sixers," 5 Apr. 2018 Some legislators, especially conservatives, privately hoped that the President would tank the moderate option and force the Republicans to vote for the Goodlatte proposal. Philip Elliott, Time, "President Trump Spiked an Immigration Compromise He Supported," 15 June 2018 Leadership has promised conservatives a vote on their bill, which is not expected to have enough Republican votes for passage, although conservatives tanked the unrelated bill anyway. Tal Kopan, CNN, "Republicans' immigration collision course on track for dramatic conclusion," 5 June 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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Phrases Related to tank

tank up

Statistics for tank

Last Updated

9 Sep 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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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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