from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To descend to the bottom; submerge.
  • intransitive v. To fall or drop to a lower level, especially to go down slowly or in stages: The water in the lake sank several feet during the long, dry summer.
  • intransitive v. To subside or settle gradually, as a massive or weighty structure.
  • intransitive v. To appear to move downward, as the sun or moon in setting.
  • intransitive v. To slope downward; incline.
  • intransitive v. To pass into a specified condition: She sank into a deep sleep.
  • intransitive v. To deteriorate in quality or condition: The patient is sinking fast. The family sank into a state of disgrace.
  • intransitive v. To diminish, as in value.
  • intransitive v. To become weaker, quieter, or less forceful: His voice sank to a whisper.
  • intransitive v. To drop or fall slowly, as from weakness or fatigue: The exhausted runner sank to the ground.
  • intransitive v. To feel great disappointment or discouragement: Her heart sank within her.
  • intransitive v. To seep or soak; penetrate: The water is sinking into the ground.
  • intransitive v. To make an impression; become felt or understood: The meaning finally sank in.
  • transitive v. To cause to descend beneath a surface: sink a ship.
  • transitive v. To cause to drop or lower: sank the bucket into the well.
  • transitive v. To force into the ground: sink a piling.
  • transitive v. To dig or drill (a mine or well) in the earth.
  • transitive v. To occupy the full attention of; engross.
  • transitive v. To make weaker, quieter, or less forceful.
  • transitive v. To reduce in quantity or worth.
  • transitive v. To debase the nature of; degrade.
  • transitive v. To bring to a low or ruined state; defeat or destroy.
  • transitive v. To suppress or hide: He sank his arrogance and apologized.
  • transitive v. Informal To defeat, as in a game.
  • transitive v. To invest: sink money into a new housing project.
  • transitive v. To invest without any prospect of return.
  • transitive v. To pay off (a debt).
  • transitive v. Sports To get (a ball) into a hole or basket.
  • n. A water basin fixed to a wall or floor and having a drainpipe and generally a piped supply of water.
  • n. A cesspool.
  • n. A sinkhole.
  • n. A natural or artificial means of absorbing or removing a substance or a form of energy from a system.
  • n. A place regarded as wicked and corrupt.
  • idiom sink or swim Informal To fail or succeed without alternative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To descend or submerge (or to cause to do so) into a liquid or similar substance.
  • v. To cause a vessel to sink, generally by making it no longer watertight.
  • v. To push (something) into something.
  • v. To experience apprehension, disappointment, dread, or momentary depression.
  • v. To pot; hit a ball into a pocket or hole
  • n. A basin used for holding water for washing
  • n. A drain for carrying off wastewater
  • n. A sinkhole
  • n. A depression in land where water collects, with no visible outlet
  • n. A heat sink
  • n. A place that absorbs resources or energy
  • n. The motion of a sinker pitch
  • n. An object or callback that captures events; event sink
  • n. a destination vertex in a transportation network

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A drain to carry off filthy water; a jakes.
  • n. A shallow box or vessel of wood, stone, iron, or other material, connected with a drain, and used for receiving filthy water, etc., as in a kitchen.
  • n. A hole or low place in land or rock, where waters sink and are lost; -- called also sink hole.
  • n. The lowest part of a natural hollow or closed basin whence the water of one or more streams escapes by evaporation.
  • intransitive v. To fall by, or as by, the force of gravity; to descend lower and lower; to decline gradually; to subside.
  • intransitive v. To enter deeply; to fall or retire beneath or below the surface; to penetrate.
  • intransitive v. Hence, to enter so as to make an abiding impression; to enter completely.
  • intransitive v. To be overwhelmed or depressed; to fall slowly, as so the ground, from weakness or from an overburden; to fail in strength; to decline; to decay; to decrease.
  • intransitive v. To decrease in volume, as a river; to subside; to become diminished in volume or in apparent height.
  • transitive v. To cause to sink; to put under water; to immerse or submerge in a fluid.
  • transitive v. Figuratively: To cause to decline; to depress; to degrade; hence, to ruin irretrievably; to destroy, as by drowping.
  • transitive v. To make (a depression) by digging, delving, or cutting, etc.
  • transitive v. To bring low; to reduce in quantity; to waste.
  • transitive v. To conseal and appropriate.
  • transitive v. To keep out of sight; to suppress; to ignore.
  • transitive v. To reduce or extinguish by payment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fall or decline by the force of gravity, as in consequence of the absence or removal of a support; settle or be lowered from a height or surface through a medium of slight resistance, as water, air, sand, etc.; specifically, to become submerged in deep water, as in the sea.
  • To fall or fail, as from weakness, or under a heavy blow, burden, or strain; as, to sink into a chair; literally or figuratively, to droop; succumb.
  • To descend or decline toward or below the horizon; specifically, of the sun, moon, etc., to set.
  • To be turned downward; be downcast.
  • To enter or penetrate deeply; be absorbed: either literal or figurative in use; specifically, of paint, varnish, and the like, to disappear below the surface into the substance of the body to which it is applied, so that the intended effect is lost.
  • To fall in; become or seem hollow: chiefly used in the past participle: as, sunken cheeks or eyes.
  • To become lower; slope or incline downward; slant.
  • To decrease or be reduced in volume, bulk, extent, amount, or the like; subside; decline.
  • To be lowered in pitch; fall to a lower pitch: said of musical sounds, or of a voice or instrument.
  • To settle down; become settled or spread abroad.
  • To be reduced to a lower or worse state; degenerate; deteriorate; become debased or depraved.
  • To be destroyed or lost; perish.
  • To-settle or subside, as into rest or indolence.
  • To swim deep, as a school of fish; specifically, to pass below a net.
  • To squat, crouch, or cower and draw (itself) into closest compass, as a game-bird or -animal in order to withhold the scent as far as possible.
  • To lessen, dwindle.
  • To force or drag gradually downward; immerse; submerge; whelm; engulf.
  • To cause to decline or droop; hence, figuratively, to depress.
  • To excavate downward, as in mining: as, to sink a shaft; to sink a well.
  • To place or set by excavation: as, to sink a post.
  • To diminish or reduce in tone, volume, bulk, extent, amount, etc.; lower: as, to sink the voice to a whisper; the news of war sinks the value of stocks.
  • To degrade in character or in moral or social estimation; debase; lower.
  • To destroy; ruin; overwhelm.
  • To lose, as money, by unfortunate investment.
  • To put out of sight or knowledge; suppress; refrain from uttering, mentioning, or using.
  • In decorative art, to depress, or out to a lower level, as by engraving: said of a part of the design or of a panel.
  • Synonyms To excavate, scoop out.
  • 5 and
  • To abase.
  • 7 and To waste, swamp.
  • To drive a mine or exploration shaft downward through the earth's surface.
  • To run a shaft or drift in any direction into the earth in search of mineral or ore.
  • n. A receptacle and conduit for foul liquids; a kennel; a sewer; a drain; a privy.
  • n. A kind of box or basin having an outflow-pipe leading into a drain, and used for receiving and carrying off dirty water, as in kitchens, etc.
  • n. An abode or resort of depraved and debauched persons; slums.
  • n. Corruption; debauchery; moral filth.
  • n. Same as sink-hole, 3.
  • n. An area (which may sometimes be a lake or pond, and at other times a marsh, or even entirely dry and covered with more or less of various saline combinations) in which a river or several rivers sink or disappear, because evaporation is in excess of precipitation: as, the sink of the Humboldt river, in the Great Basin.
  • n. In theaters, one of the long, narrow trapdoors used on the stage for the raising and lowering of scenery.
  • n. In mining, a, downward excavation not sufficiently deep or important to be called a shaft.
  • n. A depression in a stereotype plate; a bubble of air sometimes formed below the surface of a plate, which causes the part of the surface affected to sink under impression.
  • n. In mining: The amount by which the shaft-level is lowered by a blast in sinking operations.
  • n. The distance inward, or depth, to which the excavation for a shaft or drift is to be carried.
  • n. The lowest point in the shaft, toward which the drainage flows.
  • n. In geometry, a place of transition from space of n into space n—1 dimensions.
  • n. In electricity, in the theory of the flow of current in plane sheets, a point at which the current leaves the sheet.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a covered cistern; waste water and sewage flow into it
  • v. descend into or as if into some soft substance or place
  • v. fall or sink heavily
  • v. pass into a specified state or condition
  • n. (technology) a process that acts to absorb or remove energy or a substance from a system
  • n. a depression in the ground communicating with a subterranean passage (especially in limestone) and formed by solution or by collapse of a cavern roof
  • v. go under,
  • v. embed deeply
  • v. appear to move downward
  • v. cause to sink
  • n. plumbing fixture consisting of a water basin fixed to a wall or floor and having a drainpipe
  • v. fall heavily or suddenly; decline markedly
  • v. fall or descend to a lower place or level


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English sinken, from Old English sincan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English sincan, from Proto-Germanic *sinkwanan, from Proto-Indo-European *sengʷ- (“to fall, sink”).



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  • This doesn't work for me as a substitute for 'six'; it's too close to the French 'cinq' (five).

    May 4, 2008