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[duhng-king] /ˈdʌŋ kɪŋ/
the action of plunging or being plunged into water or other liquid:
Learning to canoe cost her several dunkings.
Origin of dunking
First recorded in 1915-20; dunk + -ing1


[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 dunking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • More men were ranged in rows along the plastered walls, dunking their heels against the cracked wooden baseboards.

    Back Home Irvin S. Cobb
  • This is a breakfast treat especially good for dunking in coffee.

  • The dunking is done as rhythmically as the stirring, guests taking regular turns at twirling the fork to keep the cheese swirling.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
  • When everything is stirred smooth and bubbling, toss in the kirsch without missing a stroke of the fork and get to dunking.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
  • Large, crisp, hot potato chips make a pleasant change for dunking purposes.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
British Dictionary definitions for dunking


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
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 dunking



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 dunking



  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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