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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
  • It is a cramped, dank little apartment.
  • From this bridge, the convicted got their final view of sunny, joyous Venice before entering the black and dank prisons.
  • The black chair sits on a round wooden platform in a small, dank room.
  • The cellars, usually 8 feet by 10 feet, offer a dank refuge from the weather.
  • Here, he effectively evokes the dark, dank atmosphere of rain-soaked Scotland.
  • It's dark, dank, and dismal but she gets a lot more work done.
  • Subway track workers traverse dank tunnels.
  • The dank air has left one wall almost black with mold.
  • Caves are thought to be dank, dark and bat-infested.
  • This dampness causes rusting and a dank smell inside the house.
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 Now largely superseded by damp (adj.).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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