[ singk-hohl ]
/ ˈsɪŋkˌhoʊl /


a hole formed in soluble rock by the action of water, serving to conduct surface water to an underground passage.
Also called sink. a depressed area in which waste or drainage collects.

Nearby words

  1. sink or swim,
  2. sink through the floor,
  3. sinkage,
  4. sinker,
  5. sinkerball,
  6. sinkiang-uighur autonomous region,
  7. sinking,
  8. sinking feeling, a,
  9. sinking fund,
  10. sinking spell

Origin of sinkhole

late Middle English word dating back to 1425–75; see origin at sink, hole Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sinkhole

British Dictionary definitions for sinkhole


/ (ˈsɪŋkˌhəʊl) /


Also called (esp Brit): swallow hole a depression in the ground surface, esp in limestone, where a surface stream disappears underground
a place into which foul matter runs
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 sinkhole



also sink-hole, mid-15c., "sewage pit," from sink (n.) + hole (n.). As a geological phenomenon, "hole made in the earth in limestone regions by underground erosion," 1780, from sink (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for sinkhole


[ sĭngkhōl′ ]

A natural depression in a land surface formed by the dissolution and collapse of a cavern roof. Sinkholes are roughly funnel-shaped and on the order of tens of meters in size. They generally occur in limestone regions and are connected to subteranean passages. Also called sink See more at karst topography.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.