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[sing-ker] /ˈsɪŋ kər/
a person or thing that sinks.
a person employed in sinking, as one who sinks shafts.
a weight, as of lead, for sinking a fishing line or net below the surface of the water.
Slang. a doughnut or, sometimes, a biscuit or muffin.
Also called sinkerball. Baseball. a pitched ball that curves downward sharply as it reaches the plate.
Origin of sinker
1520-30; 1920-25 for def 4; 1925-30 for def 5; sink + -er1
Related forms
sinkerless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sinker
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A pressure-gauge to register the depth of the sinker has been added by Sir William.

  • Even I swallered that Development Company, hook, line, and sinker.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I have arranged this sinker, which has a hole through it, so that the line will run freely.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • An' I'll bet a sinker it'll beat that Bally Klavvy bizness if we do it well.

    Tramping with Tramps Josiah Flynt
  • No sinker or float is required, as the bait must be kept near the surface.

    Bass, Pike, Perch, and Others James Alexander Henshall
  • The weight of the sinker must be adapted to the strength of the tide.

    Bass, Pike, Perch, and Others James Alexander Henshall
British Dictionary definitions for sinker


a weight attached to a fishing line, net, etc, to cause it to sink in water
a person who sinks shafts, etc
(US) an informal word for doughnut
hook, line, and sinker, See hook (sense 18)
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 sinker

1838 in the fishing-line sense, agent noun from sink (v.).

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

sinker 1


A biscuit or doughnut

Related Terms

hook* line* and sinker

[1870+; fr the lead weight used by fishermen to sink line and bait, probably an ironic reference to the weight of the biscuit or doughnut]

sinker 2


  1. A pitch that dips downward as it nears home plate
  2. A line drive or other batted ball that sinks suddenly toward the ground (1920s+ Baseball)
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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Idioms and Phrases with sinker
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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