verb (used without object), sank or, often sunk; sunk or sunken; sinking.
to displace part of the volume of a supporting substance or object and become totally or partially submerged or enveloped; fall or descend into or below the surface or to the bottom (often followed by in or into ): The battleship sank within two hours. His foot sank in the mud. Her head sinks into the pillows.
to fall, drop, or descend gradually to a lower level: The river sank two feet during the dry spell.
to settle or fall gradually, as a heavy structure: The tower is slowly sinking.
to fall or collapse slowly from weakness, fatigue, distress, etc.: He gasped and sank to his knees.
to slope downward; dip: The field sinks toward the highway.
to go down toward or below the horizon: the sun sinks in the west.
to penetrate, permeate, or seep (usually followed by in or into ): Wipe the oil off before it sinks into the wood.
to become engulfed or absorbed in or gradually to enter a state (usually followed by in or into ): to sink into slumber.
to be or become deeply absorbed or involved in a mood or mental state (usually followed by in or into ): sunk in thought. She sank into despair.
to pass or fall into some lower state, as of fortune, estimation, etc.; degenerate: to sink into poverty.
to decline or deteriorate in quality or worth.
to fail in physical strength or health.
to decrease in amount, extent, intensity, etc.: The temperature sank to 30° at noon.
to become lower in volume, tone, or pitch: Her voice sank to a whisper.
to enter or permeate the mind; become known or understood (usually followed by in or into ): He said it four times before the words really sank in.
to become concave; become hollow, as the cheeks.
to drop or fall gradually into a lower position: He sank down on the bench.
verb (used with object), sank or, often sunk; sunk or sunken; sinking.
to cause to become submerged or enveloped; force into or below the surface; cause to plunge in or down: The submarine sank the battleship. He sank his fist into the pillow.
to cause to fall, drop, or descend gradually.
to cause to penetrate: to sink an ax into a tree trunk.
to lower or depress the level of: They sank the roadway by five feet.
to bury, plant, or lay (a pipe, conduit, etc.) into or as if into the ground.
to dig, bore, or excavate (a hole, shaft, well, etc.).
to bring to a worse or lower state or status.
to bring to utter ruin or collapse: Drinking and gambling sank him completely.
to reduce in amount, extent, intensity, etc.
to lower in volume, tone, or pitch.
to suppress; ignore; omit.
to invest in the hope of making a profit or gaining some other return: He sank all his efforts into the business.
to lose (money) in an unfortunate investment, enterprise, etc.
to throw, shoot, hit, or propel (a ball) so that it goes through or into the basket, hole, pocket, etc.: She sank the 10 ball into the side pocket.
to execute (a stroke or throw) so that the ball goes through or into the basket, hole, pocket, etc.: to sink a putt; to sink a free throw.
a basin or receptacle, as in a kitchen or laundry, usually connected with a water supply and drainage system, for washing dishes, clothing, etc.
a low-lying, poorly drained area where waters collect and sink into the ground or evaporate.
sinkhole ( def 2 ).
a place of vice or corruption.
a drain or sewer.
a device or place for disposing of energy within a system, as a power-consuming device in an electrical circuit or a condenser in a steam engine.
any pond or pit for sewage or waste, as a cesspool or a pool for industrial wastes.
any natural process by which contaminants are removed from the atmosphere.
sink one's teeth into,
to bite deeply or vigorously.
to do or enter into with great enthusiasm, concentration, conviction, etc.: to sink my teeth into solving the problem.

before 1000; (v.) Middle English sinken, Old English sincan; cognate with Dutch zinken, German sinken, Old Norse sǫkkva, Gothic singkwan; (noun) late Middle English: cesspool, derivative of the v.

sinkable, adjective
sinklike, adjective
half-sinking, adjective
nonsinkable, adjective
self-sinking, adjective
unsinkable, adjective
unsinking, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To selfsinking
World English Dictionary
sink (sɪŋk)
vb , sinks, sinking, sank, sunk, sunken
1.  to descend or cause to descend, esp beneath the surface of a liquid or soft substance
2.  (intr) to appear to move down towards or descend below the horizon
3.  (intr) to slope downwards; dip
4.  (intr; often foll by in or into) to pass into or gradually enter a specified lower state or condition: to sink into apathy
5.  to make or become lower in volume, pitch, etc
6.  to make or become lower in value, price, etc
7.  (intr) to become weaker in health, strength, etc
8.  to decline or cause to decline in moral value, worth, etc
9.  (intr) to seep or penetrate
10.  (tr) to suppress or conceal: he sank his worries in drink
11.  (tr) to dig, cut, drill, bore, or excavate (a hole, shaft, etc)
12.  (tr) to drive into the ground: to sink a stake
13.  (tr; usually foll by in or into)
 a.  to invest (money)
 b.  to lose (money) in an unwise or unfortunate investment
14.  (tr) to pay (a debt)
15.  (intr) to become hollow; cave in: his cheeks had sunk during his illness
16.  (tr) to hit, throw, or propel (a ball) into a hole, basket, pocket, etc: he sank a 15-foot putt
17.  informal (Brit) (tr) to drink, esp quickly: he sank three pints in half an hour
18.  sink or swim to take risks where the alternatives are loss and failure or security and success
19.  a fixed basin, esp in a kitchen, made of stone, earthenware, metal, etc, used for washing
20.  See sinkhole
21.  another word for cesspool
22.  a place of vice or corruption
23.  an area of ground below that of the surrounding land, where water collects
24.  physics a device or part of a system at which energy is removed from the system: a heat sink
25.  informal (of a housing estate or school) deprived or having low standards of achievement
[Old English sincan; related to Old Norse sökkva to sink, Gothic siggan, Old High German sincan, Swedish sjunka]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sincan "become submerged, go under" (past tense sanc, pp. suncen), from P.Gmc. *senkwanan (cf. O.S. sinkan, O.N. sökkva, M.Du. sinken, Du. zinken, O.H.G. sinkan, Ger. sinken, Goth. sigqan), from PIE base *sengw- "to sink." The transitive use supplants M.E. sench (cf. drink/drench) which died
out 14c. Sinking fund is from 1724; sinker in fishing line sense is from 1844. Adjective phrase sink or swim is from 1668. To sink without a trace is WWI military jargon, transl. Ger. spurlos versenkt.

1413, "pool or pit for wastewater or sewage," from sink (v.). Sense of "shallow basin with drainpipe" first recorded 1566.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
sink   (sĭngk)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A part of the physical environment, or more generally any physical system, that absorbs some form of matter or energy. For example, a forest acts as a sink for carbon dioxide because it absorbs more of the gas in photosynthesis than it releases in respiration. Coral reefs are a long-lasting sink for carbon, which they sequester in their skeletons in the form of calcium carbonate.

  2. Geology

    1. See playa.

    2. See sinkhole.

    3. A circular depression on the flank of a volcano, caused by the collapse of a volcanic wall.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
single income, no kids
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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