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[duhn-kurk] /ˈdʌn kɜrk/
French Dunkerque
[dœn-kerk] /dœ̃ˈkɛrk/ (Show IPA)
. a seaport in N France: site of the evacuation of a British expeditionary force of over 330,000 men under German fire May 29–June 4, 1940.
a period of crisis or emergency when drastic measures must be enforced:
The smaller nations were facing a financial Dunkirk.
a city in W New York, on Lake Erie. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dunkerque
Historical Examples
  • And then dunkerque at the moment was sparkling with attractions.

  • And how are they to be manifested by your waiting on in dunkerque?

  • I am to join the corps at the end of the month, and must leave dunkerque forthwith.

  • A score of your friends in dunkerque could have told you that she was daft about him.

  • M. Loubet, calm and smiling, was starting for dunkerque to meet his guests.

  • It was market day there, and the barge was crowded with passengers from dunkerque.

    Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Our story of being curious airmen from dunkerque is believed.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
  • We were told to return to Luxeuil, whence we were to fly to dunkerque.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
  • Nearer and nearer to dunkerque and its line of docks and its ramparts we drew.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
  • Out to sea we flew till we were off dunkerque, and then we turned in towards the coast.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
British Dictionary definitions for dunkerque


/French dœ̃kɛrk/
a port in N France, on the Strait of Dover: scene of the evacuation of British and other Allied troops after the fall of France in 1940; industrial centre with an oil refinery and naval shipbuilding yards. Pop: 70 850 (1999) English name Dunkirk (dʌnˈkɜːk)
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 dunkerque


city on the northeast coast of France, French dunkerque, literally "dune church," from Middle Dutch dune (see dune) + kerke (see church (n.)); in reference to the 7c. church of St. Eloi.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dunkerque in Culture

Dunkirk definition

The scene of a remarkable, though ignominious, retreat by the British army in World War II. Dunkirk, a town on the northern coast of France, was the last refuge of the British during the fall of France, and several hundred naval and civilian vessels took the troops back to England in shifts over three days.

Note: The term Dunkirk is sometimes used to signify a desperate retreat.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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