[ tangk ]
See synonyms for: tanktanked on Thesaurus.com

  1. a large receptacle, container, or structure for holding a liquid or gas: tanks for storing oil.

  2. a natural or artificial pool, pond, or lake.

  1. Military. an armored, self-propelled combat vehicle, armed with cannon and machine guns and moving on a caterpillar tread.

  2. (in a video game) a category of job classes in a role-playing game, best suited to withstand large amounts of damage from an enemy: The only decent tank in this game is Warrior, just because the cooldown period for the Paladin and Dark Knight skills is way too long.: See also DD (def. 2), healer (def. 3).

  3. Slang. a prison cell or enclosure for more than one occupant, as for prisoners awaiting a hearing.

verb (used with object)
  1. to put or store in a tank.

  2. (in a video game) to provoke and hold the attention of (an enemy character) so that it does not target other player characters in the party who are less able to withstand large amounts of damage: If you’re properly tanking this boss, you’ll never let him face your mages.

verb (used without object)
  1. Slang. to do poorly or decline rapidly; fail: The movie tanked at the box office.

Verb Phrases
  1. tank up,

    • to fill the gas tank of an automobile or other motor vehicle.

    • Slang. to drink a great quantity of alcoholic beverage, especially to intoxication.

Idioms about tank

  1. go in / into the tank, Boxing Slang. to go through the motions of a match but deliberately lose because of an illicit prearrangement or fix; throw a fight.

  2. in the tank, Slang.

    • failing, doing poorly, or declining: His grades were in the tank last quarter.

    • favoring, colluding, or assisting in a partisan way (often followed by with or for): The talk-show host was in the tank with the Green Party.

Origin of tank

First recorded in 1610–20; perhaps jointly from Gujarati tānkh “reservoir, lake,” and Portuguese tanque, shortening of estanque “pond,” literally, “something dammed up,” derivative of estancar, from Vulgar Latin stanticāre (unattested) “to dam up, weaken”; adopted as a cover name for the military vehicle during the early stages of its manufacture in England (December 1915)

Other words from tank

  • tank·less, adjective
  • tank·like, adjective

Words Nearby tank

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tank in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tank


/ (tæŋk) /

  1. a large container or reservoir for the storage of liquids or gases: tanks for storing oil

    • an armoured combat vehicle moving on tracks and armed with guns, etc, originally developed in World War I

    • (as modifier): a tank commander; a tank brigade

  1. British and US dialect a reservoir, lake, or pond

  2. photog

    • a light-tight container inside which a film can be processed in daylight, the solutions and rinsing waters being poured in and out without light entering

    • any large dish or container used for processing a number of strips or sheets of film

  3. slang, mainly US

    • a jail

    • a jail cell

  4. Also called: tankful the quantity contained in a tank

  5. Australian a dam formed by excavation

  1. (tr) to put or keep in a tank

  2. (intr) to move like a tank, esp heavily and rapidly

  1. slang to defeat heavily

  2. (intr) informal to fail, esp commercially

Origin of tank

C17: from Gujarati tānkh artificial lake, but influenced also by Portuguese tanque, from estanque pond, from estancar to dam up, from Vulgar Latin stanticāre (unattested) to block, stanch

Derived forms of tank

  • tankless, adjective
  • tanklike, adjective

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 tank


In addition to the idiom beginning with tank

  • tank up

also see:

  • think tank

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