Meaning of SINK in English

I. ˈsiŋk verb

( sank -aŋk, -aiŋk ; or sunk ; sunk -əŋk ; or sunk·en -kən ; sinking ; sinks )

Etymology: Middle English sinken, from Old English sincan; akin to Old High German sinkan to sink, Old Norse sökkva, Gothic sinqan to sink, Greek heaphthē clung, sank, Armenian ankanim I fall, yield

intransitive verb


a. : to become submerged : go to the bottom : submerge

the Atago sinks in 19 minutes — H.W.Baldwin

the overloaded raft sank below the surface

b. : to become partly buried or submerged (as in mud)

sinking up to his hips in the snow

must sink deeper into the morass before we again emerge onto firm ground — Vannevar Bush

c. : to descend into or become engulfed by the earth

whole towns sinking as the earth opens great cracks



(1) : to fall or drop to a lower place or level

letting his head sink to his chest

peeled off and sank into a cloud layer — W.F.Jenkins

the hand opens out fully and … quietly sinks down below the waist — Warwick Braithwaite

(2) : to flow at a lower depth or level

water … sinks down in the sandstone and finds its way extremely slowly north — K.S.Sandford

after the spring floods the brooks sink

(3) : to burn with lower intensity : die down

watching the flames sink and the coals begin to glow

(4) : to fall to a lower pitch or tone : become fainter

in the general hush his voice sank to a whisper — Waldo Frank

sounds of voices sinking in the distance

b. : to subside gradually : settle

some parts of the mainland are slowly sinking and some rising as time works its changes — American Guide Series: Texas

c. : to move or go out of sight : disappear from view

riding on, he looked back to see the workers sink below the tops of the hedgerows

d. : to move down in the sky toward or at the horizon

the sun sank below the western rim of the prairies — F.B.Gipson

though sun is sunk and darkness near — R.P.Warren

to follow knowledge like a sinking star — Alfred Tennyson

e. : to decline or slope gradually : dip

a spur of hills sinking into the opalescence of the far seas — Osbert Sitwell

ahead of her the road sank between the autumn fields and the brilliant patches of woods — Ellen Glasgow


a. : to become lost or absorbed : penetrate

the river seems literally to sink into the earth before the hills on the horizon — Tom Marvel

the ink quickly sinks in the blotting paper

the kind of psychological poison which sinks so deeply into our system — H.A.Overstreet

b. : to become impressively known or felt or comprehended — usually used with in or into

the lesson of inflation had not sunk in — Roy Lewis & Angus Maude

the gloomy truth has sunk in that the buffalo no longer fill the prairies — D.W.Brogan

any abstract pattern … may in this way sink into my mind — Herbert Read

for any picture really to sink into your imagination … it is necessary to carry the feeling of the picture away with you — J.C.Powys

4. : to become deeply absorbed or immersed : fall — usually used with in or into

drew thoughtfully at his pipe and sank into a reverie — Dorothy Sayers

had sunk morosely into thought — Berton Roueché

overcome by exhaustion she sank quietly into sleep — Louis Bromfield


a. : to go downward or deteriorate in quality, state, or condition : degenerate , retrogress — usually used with into or to

the old aristocracy sank in wealth and prestige — F.J.Mather

architectural training and taste had sunk back into a period of chaos — J.E.Gloag

should sink back into another Dark Age — Lindsay Rogers

sink into decay and eventual ruin — Ivor Bulmer-Thomas

causes the world of custom to sink into its deserved oblivion — C.S.Kilby

if the writer of fiction turns from this task he will sink deservedly to the level of formalistic entertainer — Elizabeth Janeway

b. : to grow less in amount : diminish in worth : decline

the population … sank from about 20 millions to about 9 — Herbert Agar

support from public funds had sunk to the vanishing point — C.L.Jones

real estate values sank to a new low — American Guide Series: New York City

c. : to fall in reputation or standing : lower oneself

I had sunk considerably in her estimation — Norman Douglas

no medieval artist sinks so low — G.G.Coulton

she'd die rather than sink to such a deed — Eden Phillpotts


a. : to fall or drop slowly for lack of strength : give way : collapse

nearly sank to the ground through languor and extreme weakness — Mary W. Shelley

rose and sank upon her seat … fainting, praying, raving, despairing — Thomas De Quincey

his legs sink beneath him

b. : to move oneself gradually to a lower position

he sank down on the steps — Laura Krey

his body crouched almost as if he were going to sink upon all fours — Edith Sitwell

widows, bachelors, and old folk would sink back in their chairs with a nostalgic look — Charles Ruffing


a. : to become borne down by misfortune or the pressure of events or difficulties

in imminent danger of sinking under the tyranny of a succession of small men — T.B.Macaulay

b. : to become depressed, discouraged, or sorrowful

studied this fresh proof of poverty with a sinking heart — T.B.Costain

sometimes his heart sank when he asked himself whether he and his family were withstanding it — Glenway Wescott

his courage sank

c. : to fail in health or strength

the frail system had been shattered, and all around saw that she was slowly sinking — William Black

his frame soon sank under the effects of study, toil, and persecution — T.B.Macaulay

were chasing a sinking fox and babbling for the kill — G.S.Patton

transitive verb


a. : to cause or allow (something) to go or drop to a lower point or level

could have sunk the gun down the after hatch — Nevil Shute

sank his chin on his hands — Christine Weston

b. : to force or send down especially below the earth's surface

the iron clothes post Burton had sunk for her … near the fence — Minnie H. Moody

framed their rude huts with pairs of light poles sunk in the ground — American Guide Series: New York

he had been sunken into his grave — Marguerite Young

c. : to cause (something) to become embedded : drive , thrust

saw the hideous creature … as it prepared to sink its proboscis — William Beebe

sank the dagger up to its hilt

— often used with into

sank her nails into the palms of her hands — John Dos Passos


a. : to cause (a ship or other object) to plunge or go under the water or to the bottom

estuaries were cluttered with sunken shipping — Current Biography

sank his colors in the Rio Grande and led the remnant of his command into Mexico — B.I.Wiley

b. : to place or force beneath the water : submerge

caissons had been sunk to keep out the water — American Guide Series: Vermont

men … sunk a grappling hook into position — Erle Stanley Gardner

c. : to engage deeply : engross the attention of : immerse — usually used with in or into

a wish to sink my mind into everything I saw and did and to absorb it all — Elyne Mitchell

described the scientist aptly by saying … that he sinks himself in the object — H.A.Overstreet

some producers can't bear the idea of sinking their own individualities in that of a man perhaps long since dead — Warwick Braithwaite

sunk in a sea of mystery — W.L.Sullivan


a. : to dig or bore (a well or shaft) in the earth : excavate

this mine had been sunk to the tenth level — American Guide Series: Minnesota

hopes … to sink a shaft on the north side of the pyramid — Patrick Smith

water wells are sunk in various ways — W.J.Miller

sank a trial pit — O.M.Marashian


(1) : to form (a hole or depression) by cutting or excising

sink words in stone

(2) : to permit ingress or insertion of (something) by such sinking

sink the screwhead level with the wood

a new kind of pottery … with loop handles sunk in the body on either side — Jacquetta & Christopher Hawkes

4. : to cast down or bring to a low condition or state : overwhelm , ruin , defeat

fighting gallantly under odds which would sink a less courageous … people — T.H.Fielding

sunk to the hovels though he was, he had the rags of a finer past about him — Robert Lynd

we've got to watch our step clear through … or we're sunk — Christopher Isherwood

— sometimes used as an imprecation

sink me, mister, but ye gave me a turn! I never heard ye open the door — Max Peacock


a. : to lower in standing or reputation : abase

my motive … will not sink me in your esteem — Jane Austen

his prestige in society was sunk — Virginia Woolf

b. archaic : to set or consider as being at a low state or level : degrade


a. obsolete : to cause (as water) to subside : lower

b. : to make (something) disappear by moving or sailing away

the ship gradually sank the coast


a. archaic : to cause (a person) to become depressed or dejected


(1) : to weaken physically : debilitate

trouble enough to sink a much younger man

seemed too sunken under the heat to take any notice of who took their passports — Dan Jacobson

(2) : to weaken or reduce the strength of (a bow)

sink your bow with repeated flexings


a. archaic : to lessen in value or amount : cause (as prices) to decline

b. : to lower or soften (the voice) in speaking : modulate

he went on, sinking his voice — Hugh Walpole


a. : to stop using : abandon

sank his old name when he got his title


(1) : to avoid mention of or reference to (a matter or fact)

has a habit of sinking unpleasant truths

(2) : to conceal (a card or combination) by not melding (as in calling a trio when one holds quatorze at piquet)

c. : to subtract (the weight of the offal) when weighing meat


(1) : to set aside : restrain , suppress

so to sink our personality as to be ready to drift with every current of opinion — S.J.Brown

men are able to sink passions for the good of the race — Waldemar Kaempffert

sinks her pride and approaches the despised neighbor — Richard Harrison

(2) : to exclude from consideration : subordinate

induce rival groups to sink their differences in the face of common danger — C.L.Jones

was ready to sink his republicanism so long as the nation was made — Times Literary Supplement

10. archaic : to take or assume (as money) for personal use : appropriate

11. : to pay off (as a debt) : liquidate


a. : to invest (capital or labor) in a holding or development with intent to gain income or other receipts

no government could take land away from settlers who have sunk skill and capital in it for 50 years — Elspeth Huxley

will sink something over a million dollars into this plant just as a starter — Green Peyton

b. : to invest or spend (money) unprofitably or without hope of financial return

were more inclined to hurry past a town where they had sunk money that would never come back — Willa Cather

in undertaking to make this a sylvan retreat he sunk a large part of his patrimony — I.J.Cox

13. : to place (as the heading of a section of a book) below the level of the top line of the full text page

sink preface four picas

14. : to cause (a ball or other object) to go in or through a receptacle or hole in a game

sinks foul shots consistently

sank the eight ball in the corner pocket

always sinks his putts

Synonyms: see fall

- sink one's teeth

- sink or swim

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English sinke, from sinken to sink — more at sink I



(1) : a pool or sand-filled pit for the deposit of waste or sewage : cesspool

(2) : a container for foul matter or waste

the sea is the sink of the earth

making sinks of our rivers

b. : a ditch, drainpipe, or vaulted tunnel for carrying off sewage : sewer

c. : a stationary basin or a cabinet with a basin connected with a drain and usually a water supply for washing and drainage


a. : a place where vice, corruption, or evil collects or gathers : den

came to be a sink of debauchery, vice, and crime — R.A.Hall b. 1911

will seem to him a sink of mediocrity and human indecency — V.S.Pritchett

known as a sink of iniquity

b. : a place where such evil breeds and spreads

from this sink of sin and bawdy carousal issued murderers, sneak thieves, footpads, burglars, harlots, arsonites, and swindlers of every variety — Herbert Asbury

3. obsolete : the vicious, corrupt, or evil persons of a place

4. : a preliminary excavation or pit to be enlarged until it is a full-sized shaft : sump


a. : a depression in the land surface ; especially : one having a central playa or saline lake with no outlet

b. : a hollow in a limestone region communicating with a cavern or subterranean passage so that waters running into it disappear — called also sinkhole, swallow

6. obsolete : well 3a

7. archaic : a place where things disappear or are engulfed

8. : a depression made in a flat surface (as in the face of a timepiece)

9. : a part of the printing area of a plate (as an electrotype) that is too low to print properly

10. : a body or substance used for the disposal of a fluid or heat in the course of a hydrodynamic or a thermodynamic process (as the condenser of a steam engine)

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.