American English

Definition of sink verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they sink
    he / she / it sinks
    past simple sank
    past participle sunk
    -ing form sinking
    jump to other results
    in water/mud, etc.
  1. 1[intransitive] to go down below the surface or toward the bottom of a liquid or soft substance The ship sank to the bottom of the sea. We're sinking! The wheels started to sink into the mud. The little boat sank beneath the waves. to sink like a stone
  2. boat
  3. 2[transitive] sink something to damage a boat or ship so that it goes below the surface of the ocean, etc. a battleship sunk by a torpedo Bombs sank all four carriers.
  4. fall/sit down
  5. 3[intransitive] + adv./prep. (of a person) to move downward, especially by falling or sitting down synonym collapse I sank into an armchair. She sank back into her seat, exhausted. The old man had sunk to his knees.
  6. move downward
  7. 4[intransitive] (of an object) to move slowly downward The sun was sinking in the west. The foundations of the building are starting to sink.
  8. become weaker
  9. 5[intransitive] to decrease in amount, volume, strength, etc. The pound has sunk to its lowest recorded level against the dollar. He is clearly sinking fast (= getting weaker quickly and will soon die).
  10. of voice
  11. 6[intransitive] to become quieter synonym fade Her voice sank to a whisper.
  12. dig in ground
  13. 7[transitive] sink something to make a deep hole in the ground synonym drill to sink a well/shaft/mine
  14. 8[transitive] sink something (+ adv./prep.) to place something in the ground by digging to sink a post into the ground see also sunken
  15. prevent success
  16. 9[transitive] sink something/somebody (informal) to prevent someone or someone's plans from succeeding I think I've just sunk my chances of getting the job. If the car breaks down, we'll be sunk (= have serious problems).
  17. ball
  18. 10[transitive] sink something to get a ball into a hole or basket in games such as golf or basketball He sank a 12-foot putt to win the match.
  19. Idioms
    be sunk in something
    jump to other results
    to be in a state of unhappiness or deep thought She just sat there, sunk in thought.
    (like rats) deserting/leaving a sinking ship (humorous) (disapproving)
    jump to other results
    used to talk about people who leave an organization, a company, etc. that is having difficulties, without caring about the people who are left
    somebody's heart sinks
    jump to other results
    used to say that someone suddenly feels sad or depressed about something My heart sank when I saw how much work there was left. She watched him go with a sinking heart.
    sink your differences
    jump to other results
    to agree to forget about your disagreements We need to sink our differences and present a united opposition to the plan.
    a/that sinking feeling (informal)
    jump to other results
    an unpleasant feeling that you get when you realize that something bad has happened or is going to happen I had a horrible sinking feeling when I saw the ambulance outside the house.
    sink or swim
    jump to other results
    to be in a situation where you will either succeed by your own efforts or fail completely The new students were just left to sink or swim.
    sink so low, sink to something
    jump to other results
    to have such low moral standards that you do something very bad Stealing from your friends? How could you sink so low? I can't believe that anyone would sink to such depths.
    Phrasal Verbssink insink into somethingsink into somethingsink something into something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sink