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sink - definition and synonyms


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verb sink pronunciation in British English /sɪŋk/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesinking
past tensesank
past participlesunk
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  1. 1
    [intransitive] to disappear below the surface of the water

    The ship sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a storm.

    Do you think the cork will float or sink?

    1. a.
      [transitive] to make something, especially a boat, disappear below the surface of the water

      The enemy sank three ships last night.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] to go below the surface of a soft substance
      sink into:

      Our feet sank into the mud as we walked.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to move to a lower level

    The water level in the lake had sunk by several feet.

    The porch on the old house was beginning to sink.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to fall, sit, or lie down
    sink to:

    The wounded deer sank to the ground.

    sink to your knees:

    He sank to his knees and begged for forgiveness.

    sink into:

    When I got home, all I wanted to do was sink into a hot bath.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to become worse
    sinking fast:

    The patient is sinking fast and may not last through the night.

    sink into crisis/chaos:

    Without a stable central government, the country is sinking into crisis.

    sink into despair:

    As the search went on, Simon began to sink into despair.

    1. a.
      if your spirits sink, you become sad

      After reading the letter, my spirits sank even further.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] when the sun sinks, it gets lower in the sky until it disappears

    The sun was sinking in the west.

  6. 6
    [intransitive] to go down in value or amount
    sink to:

    Agricultural production had sunk to its lowest level in years.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] to become quiet

    Their voices sank to a whisper.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] to do something wrong
    sink to (doing) something:

    How could you sink to stealing money from your own mother?

    sink so low (as to):

    I never thought he would sink so low as to lie to me about it.

  9. 9
    [transitive] to push something sharp into something solid

    The cat sank its claws into my leg.

  10. 10
    [transitive] to invest money in something because you hope you will make more money

    We’ve sunk several thousand dollars into the project so far.

  11. 11
    [transitive] in games such as golf or pool, to put a ball into a hole

    He only has to sink the pink ball to win the game.

  12. 12
    [transitive] British informal to drink alcoholic drinks

phrasal verbs


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