• synonyms


  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.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dunkerque

Historical Examples of dunkerque

  • And then Dunkerque at the moment was sparkling with attractions.

    The Shoes of Fortune

    Neil Munro

  • And how are they to be manifested by your waiting on in Dunkerque?

  • I am to join the corps at the end of the month, and must leave Dunkerque forthwith.

  • A score of your friends in Dunkerque could have told you that she was daft about him.

  • M. Loubet, calm and smiling, was starting for Dunkerque to meet his guests.

British Dictionary definitions for dunkerque


  1. a port in N France, on the Strait of Dover: scene of the evacuation of British and other Allied troops after the fall of France in 1940; industrial centre with an oil refinery and naval shipbuilding yards. Pop: 70 850 (1999)English name: Dunkirk (dʌnˈkɜːk)
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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

Word Origin and History for dunkerque


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dunkerque in Culture


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.

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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.