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[dangk] /dæŋk/
adjective, danker, dankest.
unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly:
a dank cellar.
Origin of dank
dialectal Swedish
1350-1400; Middle English (adj. and noun), probably < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish dänka, Norwegian dynke moisten, cognate with Old Norse dǫkk water hole
Related forms
dankly, adverb
dankness, noun
wet, clammy, muggy, sticky, soggy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dank
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From her gleaming neck down to the ground was dank, shapeless form.

    The Mermaid Lily Dougall
  • She smiled, put back her hand and brushed the dank hair from his moist brow.

  • The dank, decaying vegetation, the dimness, the very airlessness of the sweltering valley—all this is not merely heat.

    Forging the Blades Bertram Mitford
  • They lay in the dank and chilly dawn as though death had reaped the field.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Laden with its salt scent, the dank vapor had enveloped an old house on the "brew" behind the town.

British Dictionary definitions for dank


(esp of cellars, caves, etc) unpleasantly damp and chilly
Derived Forms
dankly, adverb
dankness, noun
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dank marshy spot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dank

c.1400, earlier as a verb (early 14c.), now obsolete, meaning "to moisten," used of mists, dews, etc. Perhaps from Scandinavian (cf. Swedish dank "moist place," dänka "to moisten") or German (cf. Middle High German damph, Dutch damp "vapor"). Now largely superseded by damp (adj.). Related: Dankness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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