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[droun] /draʊn/
verb (used without object)
to die under water or other liquid of suffocation.
verb (used with object)
to kill by submerging under water or other liquid.
to destroy or get rid of by, or as if by, immersion:
He drowned his sorrows in drink.
to flood or inundate.
to overwhelm so as to render inaudible, as by a louder sound (often followed by out).
to add too much water or liquid to (a drink, food, or the like).
to slake (lime) by covering with water and letting stand.
Verb phrases
drown in,
  1. to be overwhelmed by:
    The company is drowning in bad debts.
  2. to be covered with or enveloped in:
    The old movie star was drowning in mink.
Origin of drown
1250-1300; Middle English drounnen, Old English druncnian, perhaps by loss of c between nasals and shift of length from nn to ou
Related forms
drowner, noun
half-drowned, adjective
half-drowning, adjective
undrowned, adjective
4. deluge, engulf, submerge, drench, soak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for half-drowned
Historical Examples
  • Christian lay like a half-drowned man upon the shelving ledge, slowly realising his position.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • And seems to me it sounded like a half-drowned shout for help.

    Afloat on the Flood Lawrence J. Leslie
  • The Captain, who had taken the precaution to lash himself to the deck, in a half-drowned state, held steadily to the tiller.

    Young Lion of the Woods Thomas Barlow Smith
  • Lambert came to himself with a half-drowned sense of suffocation.

  • She said two of the children had half-drowned themselves, and lost a good straw hat in getting them for her.

    Last Words Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • You get half-drowned, or drowned altogether, before you discover your danger.

    Angling Sketches Andrew Lang
  • John sprang to his assistance and a moment later the two boys dragged the half-drowned negro over the side into the boat.

  • The engineer placed the half-drowned creature by its mother's side.

    Brooks's Readers, Third Year Stratton D. Brooks
  • A blaze was soon started, and the two half-drowned men left to dry themselves.

  • "Not about a half-drowned girl taking the trouble to wash her face," he said.

    The Seven Darlings Gouverneur Morris
British Dictionary definitions for half-drowned


nearly dead or killed by immersion in liquid: half-drowned crewmen lay on the planks


to die or kill by immersion in liquid
(transitive) to destroy or get rid of as if by submerging: he drowned his sorrows in drink
(transitive) to drench thoroughly; inundate; flood
(transitive) sometimes foll by out. to render (a sound) inaudible by making a loud noise
Derived Forms
drowner, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably from Old English druncnian; related to Old Norse drukna to be drowned
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 half-drowned



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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half-drowned in the Bible

(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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with half-drowned
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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