Definition of tank in English:

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Pronunciation: /taNGk/


1A large receptacle or storage chamber, especially for liquid or gas.
Example sentences
  • Only two tonnes of liquid chlorine spilt from a storage tank after an equipment failure, but it was enough to cause plenty of drama.
  • The protest forced the field to halt production in order to prevent its 2,000-barrel storage tanks from overflowing.
  • Moreover, much of the water supply is deliberately contaminated by willful destruction of sewers, water pipes and storage tanks.
1.1The container holding the fuel supply in a motor vehicle, aircraft, etc.
Example sentences
  • The fuel tank still contained gasoline and the majority of rubber hoses and other rubber items were in such condition that they could be reused if wanted.
  • With a full tank of fuel, the weight bias shifts rearwards slightly, which helps traction, as does the standard limited slip differential.
  • Fuel tanks could be considered the container of the lifeblood of your Mazda.
container, receptacle, vat, cistern, repository, reservoir, basin
1.2A receptacle with transparent sides in which to keep fish; an aquarium.
Example sentences
  • We were walking through the aquarium, glass fish tanks surrounding us on all sides.
  • You can tell that the ‘underwater’ shots are filmed behind a tank of aquarium fish, plastic plants and all.
  • One couple was shown exchanging vows submerged in an aquarium tank, diving bells over their heads, while tropical fish swam past.
Image of tank
2A heavy armored fighting vehicle carrying guns and moving on a continuous articulated metal track.
From the use of tank as a secret code word during manufacture in 1915
Example sentences
  • There is no doubt we have the finest tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in the world.
  • Among the advantages, few of the Army's tanks and armored fighting vehicles were lost to enemy action, and in most cases, their crews survived.
  • Other reports indicated that hundreds of people were being indiscriminately mowed down by tanks and armoured vehicles in various suburbs.
armored vehicle, armored car, combat vehicle;
3North American informal A cell in a police station or jail.
Example sentences
  • I got thrown in once when I was underage, not to eventful though...tried to get a cop to drive me home, he said sure and drove me straight to the tank.
  • And don't refrain from telling your friends: Among drunks, the real ones anyway, a night in the tank is a very large feather in the drinking cap.
  • Get thrown in the tank and they let me out at 6am and give me back my shoe laces and bifocal sunglasses I don't even remember them and just kind of smiled when the girl was emptying the bag.


[no object]
1Fill the tank of a vehicle with fuel: the cars stopped to tank up
More example sentences
  • Last August, GM showed the result: a gasoline processor that could allow fuel cell vehicles to tank up at local gas stations.
  • The trick is figuring out how to hold hydrogen safely and at sufficient density to allow a typical car to go 500 kilometers or so before having to tank up.
  • No drop in petrol prices so people will still head south to tank up while no drop in corporation tax means foreign investors will still favour the Irish Republic.
1.1 (be/get tanked up) informal Drink heavily; become drunk: they get tanked up before the game
More example sentences
  • ‘This will result in either people staying in and drinking or getting tanked up before they go out,’ he said.
  • "They're getting tanked up on those alcopop drinks and by the time it comes to midnight they're all over the place," he said.
  • Perhaps alcohol consumption would be more responsible if fans could drink at grounds rather than feeling the need to get tanked up before the game.
2US informal Fail completely, especially at great financial cost.
Example sentences
  • I know a great deal about movies - what's tanking, what's opened wide, what's in turnaround, what the buzz is.
  • For a movie that was so different, it should surprise no one that the movie tanked at the box office and was generally reviled by the critical press.
  • As the rest of Asia's economies tanked during the financial crisis that began in 1997, Taiwan remained afloat.
2.1 [with object] North American informal (In sports) deliberately lose or fail to finish (a game): the lackluster performance prompted speculation that he tanked the second set
More example sentences
  • Unless you'd rather believe that the Yankee hitters all hate him and are tanking deliberately in games when he starts.
  • The team begins this season with a thrilling comeback against Washington State, then tanks the next three games.
  • People who accuse teams of tanking it in order to get a higher draft pick don't understand the mentality that is prevalent in the National Football League.



Pronunciation: /ˈtaNGkˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural tankfuls)
Example sentences
  • Suppose motorists have to pay $3 a litre for their petrol, with a 50-litre tankful costing $150.
  • Today was the day for their fortnightly water change (no, not the whole tankful, just 10%).
  • It just reminded me of the time when they used to advertise that their cars would travel 400 miles on a tankful.


Example sentences
  • With that information, we'll be able to say with much more certainty what the propane and water savings should be with the tankless arrangement, and therefore compare costs over the lifetime of the alternatives.
  • Armed with this information, we began our search for tankless hot water heaters that would meet all of these requirements.
  • A system is available in which a tankless gas water heater is installed outdoors and piped inside to the old electric storage tank, which is disconnected from its power supply.


Early 17th century: perhaps from Gujarati tānkũ or Marathi tānkẽ 'underground cistern', from Sanskrit tadāga 'pond', probably influenced by Portuguese tangue 'pond', from Latin stagnum.

  • In early 17th-century English, tank was the name given to a pool in India, going back to Sanskrit tadāga ‘pond’ and probably also influenced by the Portuguese word for ‘pond’, tangue. It was being used for a domestic container of liquid in the modern way by the end of the century. In 1915 tank was used as a secret code word for the armoured military vehicles that were first being made. A Times column of September 1916 remarked: ‘The name has the evident official advantage of being quite undescriptive.’ A sleeveless tank top is not so called because it was worn by the driver of a tank, but because it resembles the top part of a one-piece swimsuit known as a tank suit, worn in ‘swimming tanks’ or swimming pools. A drunk person has been tanked up since the 1890s. The comparison is with a vehicle filled with water or fuel from a tank.

Words that rhyme with tank

ankh, bank, blank, clank, crank, dank, drank, embank, flank, franc, frank, hank, lank, outflank, outrank, Planck, plank, point-blank, prank, rank, sank, shank, shrank, spank, stank, swank, thank, yank

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tank

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