I. sink 1 W3 /sɪŋk/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense sank /sæŋk/ or sunk /sʌŋk/ American English , past participle sunk /sʌŋk/)
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: sincan ]
1 . IN WATER [intransitive] to go down below the surface of water, mud etc OPP float :
Their motorboat struck a rock and began to sink.
The kids watched as the coin sank to the bottom of the pool.
The heavy guns sank up to their barrels in the mud.
2 . BOAT [transitive] to damage a ship so badly that it sinks:
A luxury yacht was sunk in a bomb attack yesterday.
3 . MOVE LOWER [intransitive] to move downwards to a lower level:
The sun was sinking behind the coconut palms.
Her chin sank onto her chest, and she looked despairing.
4 . FALL/SIT DOWN [intransitive] to fall down or sit down heavily, especially because you are very tired and weak
sink into/to/down/back etc
She let out a groan and sank into a chair.
He let go of her shoulders and she sank at once to the floor.
Marion sank down on a rock, and wept.
The minister sank to his knees (=he went down into a kneeling position) and prayed.
5 . GET WORSE [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to gradually get into a worse condition
They lost all their money and sank into desperate poverty.
The good mood left me and I sank into depression.
The doctor said that the boy was sinking fast (=getting weaker and about to die) .
6 . your heart sinks ( also your spirits sink ) used to say that you lose hope or confidence:
His heart sank the way it always did when she left him.
She felt desperately tired, and her spirits sank.
7 . LOWER AMOUNT/VALUE [intransitive] to go down in amount or value SYN drop OPP rise :
Shares in the company have sunk as low as 620p.
The population of the village sank to just a few families.
8 . VOICE [intransitive] written if your voice sinks, it becomes very quiet
Her voice sank to a whisper.
9 . sinking feeling informal the unpleasant feeling that you get when you suddenly realize that something bad is going to happen:
I had a sinking feeling inside as I realized I was going to fail yet again.
10 . be sunk spoken to be in a situation where you are certain to fail or have a lot of problems:
If I don’t get paid by next week, I’ll really be sunk.
11 . sink without trace especially British English ( also sink like a stone especially American English ) if something sinks without trace, it fails quickly or no one pays attention to it:
He made a few records, which all sank without trace.
12 . sink so low ( also sink to doing something ) to be dishonest enough or ↑ selfish enough to do something very bad or unfair SYN stoop :
How could he have sunk so low?
13 . USE SOMETHING SHARP [transitive] to put your teeth or something sharp into someone’s flesh, into food etc
sink something into something
The dog sank its teeth into my arm.
She sank her fork into the pie.
14 . DIG INTO GROUND [transitive] if you sink something such as a well or part of a building, you dig a hole to put it into the ground:
A well was sunk in the back garden, and water could be pumped up into the kitchen.
15 . sink or swim to succeed or fail without help from anyone else:
They don’t give you a lot of guidance – you’re just left to sink or swim, really.
16 . MONEY [transitive] to spend a lot of money on something
sink something in/into something
They sank their entire savings into their house.
17 . BALL [transitive] to put a ball into a hole or ↑ basket in games such as ↑ golf or ↑ basketball
18 . sink your differences British English to agree to stop arguing and forget about your disagreements, especially in order to unite and oppose someone else:
Nations must sink their differences to achieve greater security.
19 . DRINK [transitive] British English informal to drink alcohol, especially in large quantities:
We sank a few pints at the pub first.
sink in phrasal verb
if information, facts etc sink in, you gradually understand them or realize their full meaning:
He paused a moment for his words to sink in.
The implications of Labour’s defeat were beginning to sink in.
II. sink 2 S3 BrE AmE noun [countable]
a large open container that you fill with water and use for washing yourself, washing dishes etc ⇨ basin :
Dirty plates were piled high in the sink.
⇨ everything but the kitchen sink at ↑ everything (7)
III. sink 3 BrE AmE adjective
sink estate/school British English an area where people live or a school that is in a very bad condition and seems unlikely to improve:
Go to almost any city and you find sink estates where you get the feeling that the council hates the place and the people too.