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  1. an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging, and safeguarding money and, in some cases, issuing notes and transacting other financial business.
  2. the office or quarters of such an institution.
  3. Games.
    1. the stock or fund of pieces from which the players draw.
    2. the fund of the manager or the dealer.
  4. a special storage place: a blood bank; a sperm bank.
  5. a store or reserve.
  6. Obsolete.
    1. a sum of money, especially as a fund for use in business.
    2. a moneychanger's table, counter, or shop.
verb (used without object)
  1. to keep money in or have an account with a bank: Do you bank at the Village Savings Bank?
  2. to exercise the functions of a bank or banker.
  3. Games. to hold the bank.
verb (used with object)
  1. to deposit in a bank: to bank one's paycheck.
Verb Phrases
  1. bank on/upon, to count on; depend on: You can bank on him to hand you a reasonable bill for his services.

Origin of bank2

1425–75; late Middle English < Middle French banque < Italian banca table, counter, moneychanger's table < Old High German bank bench
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for bank on

bank on

  1. (intr, preposition) to expect or rely with confidence onyou can bank on him always arriving on time


  1. an institution offering certain financial services, such as the safekeeping of money, conversion of domestic into and from foreign currencies, lending of money at interest, and acceptance of bills of exchange
  2. the building used by such an institution
  3. a small container used at home for keeping money
  4. the funds held by a gaming house or a banker or dealer in some gambling games
  5. (in various games)
    1. the stock, as of money, pieces, tokens, etc, on which players may draw
    2. the player holding this stock
  6. any supply, store, or reserve, for future usea data bank; a blood bank
  1. (tr) to deposit (cash, cheques, etc) in a bank
  2. (intr) to transact business with a bank
  3. (intr) to engage in the business of banking
  4. (intr) to hold the bank in some gambling games
See also bank on

Word Origin

C15: probably from Italian banca bench, moneychanger's table, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German banc bench


  1. a long raised mass, esp of earth; mound; ridge
  2. a slope, as of a hill
  3. the sloping side of any hollow in the ground, esp when bordering a riverthe left bank of a river is on a spectator's left looking downstream
    1. an elevated section, rising to near the surface, of the bed of a sea, lake, or river
    2. (in combination)sandbank; mudbank
    1. the area around the mouth of the shaft of a mine
    2. the face of a body of ore
  4. the lateral inclination of an aircraft about its longitudinal axis during a turn
  5. Also called: banking, camber, cant, superelevation a bend on a road or on a railway, athletics, cycling, or other track having the outside built higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force on vehicles, runners, etc, rounding it at speed and in some cases to facilitate drainage
  6. the cushion of a billiard table
  1. (when tr, often foll by up) to form into a bank or mound
  2. (tr) to border or enclose (a road, etc) with a bank
  3. (tr, sometimes foll by up) to cover (a fire) with ashes, fresh fuel, etc, so that it will burn slowly
  4. to cause (an aircraft) to tip laterally about its longitudinal axis or (of an aircraft) to tip in this way, esp while turning
  5. to travel round a bank, esp at high speed
  6. (tr) billiards to drive (a ball) into the cushion

Word Origin

C12: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Icelandic bakki hill, Old Danish banke, Swedish backe


  1. an arrangement of objects, esp similar objects, in a row or in tiersa bank of dials
    1. a tier of oars in a galley
    2. a bench for the rowers in a galley
  2. a grade of lightweight writing and printing paper used for airmail letters, etc
  3. telephony (in automatic switching) an assembly of fixed electrical contacts forming a rigid unit in a selector or similar device
  1. (tr) to arrange in a bank

Word Origin

C17: from Old French banc bench, of Germanic origin; see bank 1
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

Word Origin and History for bank on



"financial institution," late 15c., from either Old Italian banca or Middle French banque (itself from the Italian word), both meaning "table" (the notion is of the moneylender's exchange table), from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German bank "bench"); see bank (n.2).

Bank holiday is from 1871, though the tradition is as old as the Bank of England. To cry all the way to the bank was coined 1956 by flamboyant pianist Liberace, after a Madison Square Garden concert that was packed with patrons but panned by critics.



"earthen incline, edge of a river," c.1200, probably in Old English but not attested in surviving documents, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse banki, Old Danish banke "sandbank," from Proto-Germanic *bangkon "slope," cognate with *bankiz "shelf" (see bench (n.)).



"to act as a banker," 1727, from bank (n.1). As "to deposit in a bank" from 1833. Figurative sense of "to rely on" (i.e. "to put money on") is from 1884, U.S. colloquial. Meaning "to ascend," as of an incline, is from 1892. In aeronautics, from 1911. Related: Banked; banking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bank on

bank on

Rely on, count on. For example, You can bank on Molly's caterer to do a good job. This expression alludes to bank as a reliable storage place for money. [Late 1800s]

In addition to the idiom beginning with bank

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.