sink

1 of 2

verb

sank ˈsaŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) or sunk ˈsəŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) ; sunk; sinking

intransitive verb

1
a
: to go to the bottom : submerge
b
: to become partly buried (as in mud)
c
: to become engulfed
2
a(1)
: to fall or drop to a lower place or level
(2)
: to flow at a lower depth or level
(3)
: to burn with lower intensity
(4)
: to fall to a lower pitch or volume
his voice sank to a whisper
b
: to subside gradually : settle
c
: to disappear from view
d
: to slope gradually : dip
3
a
: to soak or become absorbed : penetrate
b
: to become impressively known or felt
the lesson had sunk in
4
: to become deeply absorbed
sank into reverie
5
a
: to go downward in quality, state, or condition
b
: to grow less in amount or worth
6
a
: to fall or drop slowly for lack of strength
b
: to become depressed
c
: to fail in health or strength
broadly : fail

transitive verb

1
a
: to cause to sink
sink a battleship
b
: to force down especially below the earth's surface
c
: to cause (something) to penetrate
2
: immerse, absorb
he sank himself into his studies
3
a
: to dig or bore (a well or shaft) in the earth : excavate
b
: to form by cutting or excising
sink words in stone
4
: to cast down or bring to a low condition or state : overwhelm, defeat
5
: to lower in standing or reputation : abase
6
a
: to lessen in value or amount
b
: to lower or soften (the voice) in speaking
7
: restrain, suppress
sinks her pride and approaches the despised neighbor Richard Harrison
8
: to pay off (something, such as a debt) : liquidate
9
10
: drop sense 7c
sink a putt
sink a jump shot
11
chiefly British : to drink down completely
sinkable adjective

sink

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: a pool or pit for the deposit of waste or sewage : cesspool
b
: a ditch or tunnel for carrying off sewage : sewer
c
: a stationary basin connected with a drain and usually a water supply for washing and drainage
2
: a place where vice, corruption, or evil collects
3
4
a
: a depression in the land surface
especially : one having a saline lake with no outlet
b
5
: a body or process that acts as a storage device or disposal mechanism: such as
a
: heat sink
broadly : a device that collects or dissipates energy (such as radiation)
b
: a reactant with or absorber of a substance
forests are a sink for carbon dioxide
Phrases
sink one's teeth into
1
: to bite into
2
: to eagerly devote one's attention to
likes to sink her teeth into a good book

Example Sentences

Verb The passengers were rescued from the boat before it sank. The rock sank to the bottom of the pool. My foot sank into the deep mud. She sank up to her knees in the snow. The torpedo sank the ship. The sun sank behind the hills. She sank back into the cozy chair. The temperature sinks quickly after the sun sets. The lake's water level is slowly sinking. His strength is slowly sinking. Noun was able to rise above the sink that was his birthplace See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
What the Colts do from now until next year's draft will determine plenty about whether the next quarterback can sink or swim. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Nov. 2022 Snow levels will sink to around 3,000 feet and mountain pass roads will begin to see snowfall that could continue through the end of the week. oregonlive, 31 Oct. 2022 First, underground water depletion has led the ground to slowly sink and collapse in some places. Homes and industries in the area draw around 155 million gallons of groundwater each day. Elena Shao, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2022 Too much pressure can cause the bed to sink in and jeopardize spine alignment, leading to back pain. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 1 Sep. 2022 The mound itself will eventually sink and disappear, but, Philippe says, the oyster reef will remain as the new marker of this sacred place. Boyce Upholt, Wired, 23 July 2022 Like Fleishman, Mammals is a story that requires the full journey to really sink in. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 Hearing the new Revolver is a revelation that takes time to sink in for real: proof that the world is still underrating the Beatles. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 5 Nov. 2022 Back sleepers and combination sleepers can opt for a medium firmness level, which is stable enough for sleeping on your back or stomach but plush enough for your shoulders and hips to sink in slightly. Amanda Constantine, Good Housekeeping, 28 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sincan; akin to Old High German sinkan to sink

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sink was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sink

Cite this Entry

“Sink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sink. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

sink 1 of 2

verb

sank ˈsaŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) or sunk ˈsəŋk How to pronounce sink (audio) ; sunk; sinking
1
a
: to move or cause to move downward usually so as to be below the surface or swallowed up
feet sinking into deep mud
sink a ship
b
: to descend gradually lower and lower
the sun sank behind the hills
2
: to lessen in amount or strength
3
: to fall to or into a lower status (as of quality, worth, or number) : decline
sink into decay
4
a
: to penetrate or cause to penetrate
sank my ax into the tree
b
: to become absorbed
the water sank into the dry ground
5
: to form by digging or boring
sink a well
6
: invest entry 2 sense 1
sank a million dollars in the new company
7
: to fail in strength, spirits, or health
my heart sank
sinkable adjective

sink

2 of 2

noun

1
2
: a stationary basin for washing (as in a kitchen) connected with a drain and usually a water supply

More from Merriam-Webster on sink

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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