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[duhng-ker] /ˈdʌŋ kər/
a member of the Church of the Brethren, a denomination of Christians founded in Germany in 1708 and later reorganized in the U.S., characterized by the practice of trine immersion, the celebration of a love feast accompanying the Lord's Supper, and opposition to the taking of oaths and to military service.
Also, Dunkard
[duhng-kerd] /ˈdʌŋ kərd/ (Show IPA),
Origin of Dunker
1705-15, Americanism; < Pennsylvania German; see dunk, -er1


[duhngk] /dʌŋk/
verb (used with object)
to dip (a doughnut, cake, etc.) into coffee, milk, or the like, before eating.
to submerge in a liquid:
She dunked the curtains in the dye.
Basketball. to attempt to thrust (a ball) through the basket using a dunk shot.
verb (used without object)
to dip or submerge something, oneself, etc., in a liquid:
She thinks it's vulgar to dunk. Let's dunk in the pool before dinner.
Basketball. to execute or attempt a dunk shot.
any flavorful sauce, dip, gravy, etc., into which portions of food are dipped before eating.
Basketball. dunk shot.
1865-70, Americanism; < Pennsylvania German dunke to dip, immerse; compare German tunken, Middle High German dunken, tunken, Old High German thunkōn, dunkōn
Related forms
dunkable, adjective, noun
dunker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dunkers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Pennsylvania fellow told me over there dunkers are sort of Dutch Baptists.

    The Debatable Land Arthur Colton
  • dunkers caught a bit of the box peeping from under the coat.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • "I'm sorry, Steve; but yuh wouldn't let me look at it," said dunkers, contritely.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • You know father's folks was dunkers, an' he don't believe in cards.

    The Graysons Edward Eggleston
  • The name Hargreave had instantly brought back to dunkers' mind the newspaper stories he had recently read.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • The practices and tenets of the dunkers (Ger., those who dip or immerse) are similar to those of the Baptists.

    North Dakota Various
  • The only sect he ever really praised was the dunkers, whom he commended for their modesty in not formulating a creed.

    Benjamin Franklin Paul Elmer More
  • At any rate, one Mack, the son of the founder of the dunkers, made "leg stockings" and gloves.

    Home Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle
British Dictionary definitions for dunkers


to dip (bread, etc) in tea, soup, etc, before eating
to submerge or be submerged in liquid
Derived Forms
dunker, noun
Word Origin
C20: from Pennsylvania Dutch, from Middle High German dunken, from Old High German dunkōn; see duck², tinge


a member of the German Baptist Brethren
Word Origin
C18: from German Tunker ducker
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 dunkers



1919, American English, from Pennsylvania German dunke "to dip," from Middle High German dunken, from Old High German dunkon, thunkon "to soak," from PIE root *teng- "to soak" (see tincture).

Basketball sense is first recorded 1937 as a verb, 1971 as a noun (earlier dunk shot). German-American Anabaptist sect of Dunkers (who baptize with triple immersion) first recorded by that name 1756.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dunkers



  1. : Leroy had a quick dunk in the creek
  2. A basketball field goal scored by putting the ball into the hoop from just beside or above it: Almost all of the baskets were dunks/ basketball courts where the dunks have been so fierce lately (1937+ Basketball)


  1. To dip something into a liquid, esp to dip food into a drink: Scientific temperature readings cannot be taken just by dunking a thermometer on a string (1919+)
  2. To go into the water: Be right back, just want to dunk (1940s+)
  3. : He jumped up and dunked another one

Related Terms

slam dunk

[fr Pennsylvania German dunken, ''dip'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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