\ 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 tanks can hold 6.75 million barrels — almost 1 million tons. Aaron Clark / Bloomberg, Time, "Hurricane Dorian Rips Roofs Off Bahamas Oil Storage Tanks, Causes 'Catastrophic' Spillage," 6 Sep. 2019 From the air, the storage tanks appeared to have no lids. Rachel Knowles, New York Times, "In Bahamas, a Blind Father Wades to Safety, His Disabled Son on His Shoulders," 5 Sep. 2019 The tanks are stocked with up to 10 species of plants and animals from small tributaries of the Middle Patuxent River that flow through the county. Janene Holzberg, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County students inspire future caretakers of the natural world," 3 Sep. 2019 The tanks will hold more than 400,000 gallons of water. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Engineering the Vista Tower," 3 Sep. 2019 For the most part, Liverpool had enough in the tank to keep Burnley at an arm's length without expending too much energy on trying to bury their opponents. SI.com, "Twitter Reacts as Solid Liverpool Smash Burnley 3-0 to Go Top of the Premier League," 31 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, diesel flowed from the old tanks into the new ones. Anna Rose Macarthur, Anchorage Daily News, "With 24-hour extension, school district meets deadline to transfer Napakiak fuel away from eroding riverbank," 30 Aug. 2019 As the economy tanks, Trump’s poll numbers will also stumble, risking a pattern that could grow worse and worse. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Trump Previews His Response to the Next Recession," 27 Aug. 2019 When the economy tanks, more people enter the program, and spending increases. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, "The Economist Who Believes the Government Should Just Print More Money," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Following that announcement, Fox was accused of tanking a deal for the open slot in favor of pushing one that personally benefited him. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "Rick Fox's Esports Partners Move to Remove Him From Company," 23 Aug. 2019 His team has the worst Super Bowl odds in the NFL, and is fighting accusations of tanking for the No. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "Brian Flores facing tough tests early on as Dolphins coach," 15 Aug. 2019 Other directors have raised questions about BART’s tanking approval rating and its ability to manage irritants like drug use and panhandling. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Crusade for riders or risky gambit? BART director pushes to delay fare increase," 4 June 2019 Cuban candidly acknowledged his team must look to the future by jettisoning the present by tanking the remainder of the current season. Geoffrey C. Arnold, OregonLive.com, "Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fined $600K for tanking comments," 22 Feb. 2018 After attempts to land Wilfried Zaha tanked, £72m was outlaid on Lille forward Nicolas Pepe, with deadline day seeing the defence shored up with the signings of Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and, controversially, Chelsea's David Luiz. SI.com, "Arsenal 2019/20 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions," 9 Aug. 2019 Last fall, when policy makers were raising rates, the market tanked. Larry Edelman, BostonGlobe.com, "The Fed’s tug-of-war with Wall Street will drag on despite an unusual rate cut," 31 July 2019 But during his grand debut on the national stage in last month’s first Democratic debate, Yang tanked. Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times, "Democratic debate: 7 things to watch for on Night 2," 31 July 2019 Its stock promptly tanked 12% in after-hours trading, dropping below $320 on the news. Nicolas Rivero, Quartz, "Netflix lost US subscribers for the first time ever," 17 July 2019

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

9 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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