verb (used with object), plunged, plung·ing.

verb (used without object), plunged, plung·ing.



    take the plunge, to enter with sudden decision upon an unfamiliar course of action, as after hesitation or deliberation: She took the plunge and invested her entire savings in the plan.

Origin of plunge

1325–75; Middle English < Middle French plung(i)erVulgar Latin *plumbicāre to heave the lead. See plumb
Related formsre·plunge, verb, re·plunged, re·plung·ing; nounun·plunged, adjective

Synonyms for plunge

5. dive. 6. hasten. 9. drop.

Synonym study

1. See dip1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plunge

Contemporary Examples of plunge

Historical Examples of plunge

  • "I knew he'd plunge," he said, taking the chair proffered him, near Shepler's desk.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Now, she quickened her pace, anxious for the plunge that should set the term to sorrow.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • She lay looking at me like a deer that I had shot, waiting for me to plunge in the knife.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • And if you have no weapon take my knife and plunge it into this sad heart, and let me die!

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • We might dine early, and plunge into the desert later, when the moon was high.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for plunge



(usually foll by into) to thrust or throw (something, oneself, etc)they plunged into the sea
to throw or be thrown into a certain state or conditionthe room was plunged into darkness
(usually foll by into) to involve or become involved deeply (in)he plunged himself into a course of Sanskrit
(intr) to move or dash violently or with great speed or impetuosity
(intr) to descend very suddenly or steeplythe ship plunged in heavy seas; a plunging neckline
(intr) informal to speculate or gamble recklessly, for high stakes, etc


a leap or dive as into water
informal a swim; dip
mainly US a place where one can swim or dive, such as a swimming pool
a headlong rusha plunge for the exit
a pitching or tossing motion
take the plunge informal
  1. to resolve to do something dangerous or irrevocable
  2. to get married

Word Origin for plunge

C14: from Old French plongier, from Vulgar Latin plumbicāre (unattested) to sound with a plummet, from Latin plumbum lead
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 plunge

late 14c., "to put or thrust violently into," also intransitive, from Old French plongier "plunge, sink into; plunge into, dive in" (mid-12c., Modern French plonger), from Vulgar Latin *plumbicare "to heave the lead," from Latin plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)). Original notion perhaps is of a sounding lead or a fishing net weighted with lead. Related: Plunged; plunging. Plunging neckline attested from 1949.


c.1400, "deep pool," from plunge (v.). From late 15c. as "a sudden pitch forward;" meaning "act of plunging" is from 1711. Figurative use in take the plunge "commit oneself" is from 1845, from earlier noun sense of "point of being in trouble or danger" (1530s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with plunge


see take the plunge.

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