[ bangk ]
/ bæŋk /
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See synonyms for: bank / banked / banking on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of bank

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English banke, bonke “(natural) ridge,” from Old Norse bakki “elevation, hill,” Swedish backe, Danish bakke, from unattested Germanic bank-ōn-; perhaps akin to Sanskrit bhañj- “bend,” Lithuanian bangà “a wave”; see bank3, bench

synonym study for bank

3. See shore1.

Other definitions for bank (2 of 3)

Origin of bank

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Middle French banque, from Italian banca “table, counter, moneychanger's table,” from Old High German bank bench

Other definitions for bank (3 of 3)

[ bangk ]
/ bæŋk /

verb (used with object)
to arrange in a bank: to bank the seats; to bank the lights.

Origin of bank

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English bank(e), from Old French banc “bench,” from Germanic; see bank1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of ​bank?

The word bank is used as a noun to refer to a place where people deposit money or to a long mound or slope, like a riverbank. Bank is also used as a verb meaning to bounce off of something. The word bank is very common and has several other senses, as both a noun and a verb.

A bank is an institution that allows people to deposit money into an account (called a bank account) for safekeeping. Banks often offer many other money-related services such as lending money, sending money to other people, exchanging large bills for smaller bills, and providing credit cards. Physical buildings where these services are offered are called banks, and the companies that own and operate these institutions are also called banks. This kind of business is called banking, and a person who works in this business is called a banker.

  • Real-life examples: In the United States, major banks include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citibank. Examples of banks based in other countries include HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Bank of China.
  • Used in a sentence: I need to stop at the bank to get some money from my checking account. 

The noun bank is also used to refer to a long mound or slope.

  • Real-life examples: A riverbank is one of the two slopes bordering a river—the land that contains the river on each side. A snowbank is a big pile of snow that can pile up naturally or can be created by a shovel or snowplow.
  • Used in a sentence: Be careful when you walk along the banks of the river—it’s very muddy and slippery. 

As a verb, bank means to bounce or ricochet off of something, such as after falling or being thrown. This can happen with or without someone doing the banking. In basketball, a bank shot is a shot that the player banks off of the backboard instead of shooting the ball directly into the hoop.

  • Used in a sentence:
    • Sarah banked the crumpled ball of paper off the cabinet and into the trash can.
    • The acorn fell off the tree and banked off of my windshield.

Bank is also used in the phrase bank on, which means to expect, depend on, or count on something to happen or someone to do something.

  • Used in a sentence: You can always bank on Joe to help when no one else will.

Where does ​bank come from?

The first records of bank come from the late 1100s. The sense that refers to a mound or slope comes from the Old Norse bakki, which means “hill” and is related to similar Scandinavian words, such as the Swedish backe, the Danish bakke, and the Germanic bank-ōn.

The first records of bank referring to a place where money is kept come from the 1400s. This sense comes from the Italian banca, meaning a “moneychanger’s table.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to bank?

What are some synonyms for bank?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bank

What are some words that often get used in discussing bank?

How is bank used in real life?

Bank is a very common word that has many different meanings. Most commonly, it refers to the place where you deposit your money.



Try using bank!

True or False?

A bank of snow is a long pile of snow that has been gathered together.

How to use bank in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bank (1 of 3)

/ (bæŋk) /

See also bank on

Word Origin for bank

C15: probably from Italian banca bench, moneychanger's table, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German banc bench

British Dictionary definitions for bank (2 of 3)

/ (bæŋk) /


Word Origin for bank

C12: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Icelandic bakki hill, Old Danish banke, Swedish backe

British Dictionary definitions for bank (3 of 3)

/ (bæŋk) /

an arrangement of objects, esp similar objects, in a row or in tiersa bank of dials
  1. a tier of oars in a galley
  2. a bench for the rowers in a galley
a grade of lightweight writing and printing paper used for airmail letters, etc
telephony (in automatic switching) an assembly of fixed electrical contacts forming a rigid unit in a selector or similar device
(tr) to arrange in a bank

Word Origin for bank

C17: from Old French banc bench, of Germanic origin; see bank 1
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bank


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.