[ dangk ]
/ dæŋk /
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See synonyms for: dank / dankness on Thesaurus.com

Definition of dank

adjective, dank·er, dank·est.
unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly: a dank cellar.
Slang. (of marijuana) excellent; high quality: There was plenty of booze and dank weed at the party.
Slang. (of an internet meme) passé or clichéd; out of touch; having missed the cultural Zeitgeist.
Slang. high-quality marijuana: We were just chilling out and smoking dank together.
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Origin of dank

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English probably from Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish dänka, Norwegian dynke “to moisten,” cognate with Old Norse dǫkk “water hole”


dankly, adverbdankness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What else does dank mean?

When not describing something as “moist” and “humid” like a basement, dank is a slang term describing something as “excellent,” especially marijuana.

Dank can also refer to memes that are played out or extremely weird.

Where did the term dank come from?

The adjective dank is evidenced in Middle English in the 1300s. Then, as now, dank describes places that are unpleasantly moist and humid, such as cellars and caves.

In the 1980s, dank emerged as slang for something “excellent.” Slang has a way of making negative words positive (e.g., bad, sick, ill, or wicked). In the 1990s, dank especially came to characterize high-quality marijuana, the usage perhaps additionally influenced by the fact that marijuana can be pungent and moist.

Dank meme came about in 2013 on internet message boards like 4chan and Reddit dedicated to making parodies of existing memes and mocking meme culture in general. The use of dank here is ironic, as so-called dank memes are so bad (or downright strange) that they’re somehow good.

How to use the term dank

Basements can be dank. So can bada**es and bud. Dank-a** is a fairly common intensified form.

Dank is often specifically used to describe food as “very delicious” or a person as “sexy” and “awesome.”

When it comes to marijuana, dank can both describe it and refer to the weed itself. And when it comes to memes, dank can both characterize a meme past its prime or one that is just so bizarre that it’s actually funny.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use dank in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dank

/ (dæŋk) /

(esp of cellars, caves, etc) unpleasantly damp and chilly

Derived forms of dank

dankly, adverbdankness, noun

Word Origin for dank

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dank marshy spot
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