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Dunkirk

[duhn-kurk]
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noun
  1. French Dun·kerque [dœn-kerk] /dœ̃ˈkɛrk/. 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.
  2. a period of crisis or emergency when drastic measures must be enforced: The smaller nations were facing a financial Dunkirk.
  3. a city in W New York, on Lake Erie.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for dunkirk

Dunkirk

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

dunkirk in Culture

Dunkirk

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.