Definition of plunge in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /plənj/


1 [no object] Jump or dive quickly and energetically: our daughters whooped as they plunged into the sea
More example sentences
  • She dove, a beautiful swan dive, and plunged into the crystal clear, saltwater pool.
  • I watched as two police divers plunged into the frigid East River and quickly collected the corpse.
  • The dog jumped out of Gareth's arms and plunged into the canal where he made his way under a mooring jetty.
dive, jump, throw oneself, launch oneself
1.1Fall suddenly and uncontrollably: a car swerved to avoid a bus and plunged into a ravine
More example sentences
  • In Florida, some brave passengers saved their bus from plunging almost 200 feet into the water.
  • Children and adults alike were screaming as we were thrown around the sharp corners and plunged down the deep falls.
  • The aircraft made several circles before suddenly plunging into the sea with its lights out.
plummet, nosedive, drop, fall, pitch, tumble, descend, dive-bomb
1.2Embark impetuously on a speech or course of action: overconfident researchers who plunge ahead
More example sentences
  • Taking a deep breath, he plunged on with his speech.
  • And he plunged ahead without understanding or preparing for the consequences of the post-war.
  • The best thing about these mini games is that they don't distract from the main quest, they're there if you want them, but easily ignored if you want to keep on plunging ahead.
charge, hurtle, career, plow, cannon, tear
informal barrel
1.3Suffer a rapid decrease in value: their fourth-quarter operating profit plunged 25%
More example sentences
  • The news resulted in their share value plunging 50%.
  • The transfer market is plunging in value, wages are being depressed and more and more footballers are finding themselves unemployed.
  • The value of those properties plunged 64.6 per cent to HK $4.61 billion.
fall sharply, plummet, drop, go down, tumble, slump
informal crash, nosedive
1.4(Of a ship) pitch: the ship plunged through the 20-foot seas
More example sentences
  • This meant climbing to the top of the 80 ft mast in a safety harness, with the yacht plunging in gusts of wind and a choppy sea, and holding on for dear life for five hours while she attached a spare halyard.
  • Cresting over the back of a wave, the boat plunges into a trough and rides up the back of another swell, crashing through into another trough.
  • It proved necessary to row ashore in a small dinghy, plunging through the hot spray past a Turkish battleship that had been moored for so long that the coral had grown up around it, immobilising it forever.
2 [with object] Push or thrust quickly: he plunged his hands into his pockets
More example sentences
  • Take the tip of a large knife and quickly and firmly plunge the knife downwards through this cross.
  • He got as close as he could before plunging his gloved hand quickly into the center of the smoking embers, and drawing out a long blackened object.
  • With the warrior dazed, he quickly plunges his sword into his exposed chest.
thrust, jab, stab, sink, stick, ram, drive, push, shove, force
2.1Put (something) in liquid so as to immerse it completely: cover the cucumbers with boiling water and then plunge them into iced water
More example sentences
  • They first dunk the tissue in a simple solution of ethylene glycol and buffered saline, and then chill the samples by plunging them into liquid nitrogen.
  • To cook the quail's eggs, drop the eggs into boiling water for three and a half minutes and then plunge them into iced water to halt the cooking process.
  • Using rubber gloves, put nettles in two litres of salted boiling water for a second to remove the sting then plunge them into iced water.
immerse, submerge, dip, dunk
2.2 (often be plunged into) Suddenly bring into a specified condition or state: for a moment the scene was illuminated, then it was plunged back into darkness
More example sentences
  • Then suddenly they were plunged into darkness once again.
  • The overhead light in the room suddenly switched off, plunging the room in darkness.
  • Suddenly the room was plunged into darkness - his computer had finished shutting down.
throw, cast, pitch
2.3Sink (a plant or a pot containing a plant) in the ground.
Example sentences
  • I have potted up the surviving plants and then plunged the pots back into the windowboxes.
  • After Christmas, reverse the process and plunge the pot into the ground until the following year


1An act of jumping or diving into water: we went straight from the sauna to take a cold plunge
More example sentences
  • Windy, cool and empty, its vast spaces were as refreshing as a plunge into cold water.
  • The rough footpath passes dangerously close to the edge of some of these gorges, and a slip on the muddy trail could well mean a headlong plunge into the boiling waters below.
  • An optional after-dinner extra is a lounge in the sauna followed by a quick plunge in the icy water of the lake.
dive, jump, nosedive, fall, pitch, drop, plummet, descent
1.1A swift and drastic fall in value or amount: the bank declared a 76% plunge in its profits
More example sentences
  • Given the plunge in the value of Wolfson after its profits warning, that looks like a courageous statement.
  • The high borrowings that led to plunges in the value of many trusts are now working to their advantage with the return of confidence to the stock market in recent months.
  • Of particular concern has been the plunge in the value of insurance companies on solvency worries.
fall, drop, slump
informal nosedive, crash


take the plunge

informal Commit oneself to a course of action about which one is nervous.
Example sentences
  • He's been practising for five years and is finally taking the plunge and starting a course in Sheffield before beginning his circus act.
  • I was skeptical at first but I eventually decided to take the plunge.
  • He also decided to take the plunge and set up his own business.
commit oneself, go for it, do the deed, throw caution to the wind(s), risk it
informal jump in at the deep end, go for broke


Late Middle English: from Old French plungier 'thrust down', based on Latin plumbum 'lead, plummet'.

Words that rhyme with plunge

blunge, expunge, grunge, gunge, lunge, scunge, sponge

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: plunge

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.