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

Example Sentences

Verb Some people say she deliberately tanked the match. Some people have accused her of tanking.
Recent Examples on the Web
Vlad said his grandmother was put on a tank and his mother on a bus. USA Today, 31 May 2023 Rising demand and higher prices To put the price of gas into perspective, motorists are paying an average of $54 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 30 May 2023 Japanese officials say the water stored in the tanks needs to be removed to prevent accidental leaks in case of another disaster and to make room for the plant’s decommissioning. Mari Yamaguchi, ajc, 29 May 2023 In the event of World War III and a Soviet invasion of Europe, Cobra helicopters with TOW anti-tank missiles could quickly position themselves to blunt fast-moving Red Army tank attacks. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 26 May 2023 Audiences flocked to see the actresses playing mermaids dive into an 8,000-gallon clear tank filled with water. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 May 2023 There is also a solar farm and a 5,000-gallon holding tank that allow the property to operate off-grid. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 25 May 2023 Abeona, a motor yacht, will have enough range to follow Koru from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean — a common course for yachts — on a single tank of gas. Kevin Koenig, New York Times, 19 May 2023 Vintage Cardigan Wearing a soft longline cardigan over your tennis skirt and workout tank takes your look from athletic to totally cozy. Hannah Oh, seventeen.com, 17 May 2023
Although PacWest's stock has tanked in recent weeks, the company hasn't faced the kind of massive capital flight that crippled Silicon Valley Bank, noted analyst Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge. Alain Sherter, CBS News, 4 May 2023 But uncertainty about how the Supreme Court will greet such maneuvers will only tank the markets further. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 4 May 2023 If the government defaults on its debt – something the U.S. has never done - financial markets could tank, hurting 401(k)s and other investments. USA TODAY, 3 May 2023 But the allure of maybe winning a lottery does nothing to make tanking any easier to watch. Jerry Beach, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 The rapid rise in interest rates, however, tanked the value of bonds held by Silicon Valley Bank, precipitating its failure and cascading damage for the financial sector. Max Zahn, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2023 Ombuds not only help employees navigate tricky situations but also aggregate information and provide it to senior management, often providing early warning signals about essential issues that will tank morale or result in bad publicity, offering an opportunity to intervene before things escalate. Anna Oakes, Quartz, 22 Mar. 2023 Credit Suisse shares had tanked as much as 25% in morning trading, and the turmoil quickly spread across the banking sector and beyond. Rob Wile, NBC News, 15 Mar. 2023 Division between moderate Democrats and progressives, along with the price tag associated with the plan, eventually tanked the legislation. Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 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 5 Jun. 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

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