c.1300, transitive and intransitive, perhaps from an unrecorded derivative word of Old English druncnian (Middle English druncnen) "be swallowed up by water" (originally of ships as well as living things), probably from the base of drincan "to drink."
Modern form is from northern England dialect, probably influenced by Old Norse drukna "be drowned." Related: Drowned; drowning.
(Ex. 15:4; Amos 8:8; Heb. 11:29). Drowning was a mode of capital punishment in use among the Syrians, and was known to the Jews in the time of our Lord. To this he alludes in Matt. 18:6.