put or stored in a tank.
Also tanked up. Slang. drunk.

Origin of tanked

First recorded in 1895–1900; tank + -ed2




a large receptacle, container, or structure for holding a liquid or gas: tanks for storing oil.
a natural or artificial pool, pond, or lake.
Military. an armored, self-propelled combat vehicle, armed with cannon and machine guns and moving on a caterpillar tread.
Slang. a prison cell or enclosure for more than one occupant, as for prisoners awaiting a hearing.

verb (used with object)

to put or store in a tank.

verb (used without object)

Slang. to do poorly or decline rapidly; fail: The movie tanked at the box office.

Verb Phrases

tank up,
  1. to fill the gas tank of an automobile or other motor vehicle.
  2. Slang.to drink a great quantity of alcoholic beverage, especially to intoxication.

Origin of tank

1610–20; perhaps jointly < Gujarati tānkh reservoir, lake, and Portuguese tanque, contraction of estanque pond, literally, something dammed up, derivative of estancar (< Vulgar Latin *stanticāre) to dam up, weaken; adopted as a cover name for the military vehicle during the early stages of its manufacture in England (December, 1915)
Related formstank·less, adjectivetank·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tanked

Contemporary Examples of tanked

Historical Examples of tanked

  • In the ordinary morning ablutions they tanked without suffocating.

    Hard Cash

    Charles Reade

  • They tanked her cruel they did, and kept her under water till she was nigh gone.

    Hard Cash

    Charles Reade

  • She visited the tanked one, found her in a cold room after it, shivering like ague, and her teeth chattering.

    Hard Cash

    Charles Reade

  • He never could imbibe enough and, when tanked full, contentedly resigned to her the right to rule.

    On the Mexican Highlands

    William Seymour Edwards

  • The substance of her answer was, that she could do everything under the sun, provided she were not “tanked” after.

British Dictionary definitions for tanked



a large container or reservoir for the storage of liquids or gasestanks for storing oil
  1. an armoured combat vehicle moving on tracks and armed with guns, etc, originally developed in World War I
  2. (as modifier)a tank commander; a tank brigade
British and US dialect a reservoir, lake, or pond
  1. 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
  2. any large dish or container used for processing a number of strips or sheets of film
slang, mainly US
  1. a jail
  2. a jail cell
Also called: tankful the quantity contained in a tank
Australian a dam formed by excavation


(tr) to put or keep in a tank
(intr) to move like a tank, esp heavily and rapidly
slang to defeat heavily
(intr) informal to fail, esp commercially
See also tank up
Derived Formstankless, adjectivetanklike, adjective

Word Origin for 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
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 tanked



"to lose or fail," 1976, originally in tennis jargon, but said there to be from boxing, from tank (n.) in some sense. Related: Tanked; tanking. Adjective tanked "drunk" is from 1893.



1610s, "pool or lake for irrigation or drinking water," a word originally brought by the Portuguese from India, ultimately from Gujarati tankh "cistern, underground reservoir for water," Marathi tanken, or tanka "reservoir of water, tank."

Perhaps from Sanskrit tadaga-m "pond, lake pool," and reinforced in later sense of "large artificial container for liquid" (1680s) by Portuguese tanque "reservoir," from estancar "hold back a current of water," from Vulgar Latin *stanticare (see stanch). But others say the Portuguese word is the source of the Indian ones.

Meaning "fuel container" is recorded from 1902. Military use originated 1915, partly as a code word, partly because they looked like benzene tanks. They were first used in action at Pozieres ridge, on the Western Front, Sept. 15, 1916. Slang meaning "detention cell" is from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tanked


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.