Definition of plunk in English:



  • 1[no object] Play a keyboard or plucked stringed instrument in an inexpressive way:

    ‘I got a guitar when I was twelve and started plunking away on it’
    • ‘The tune plunked out on the pianoforte was ridiculously simple, and even then, Clara made many obvious mistakes, creating chords that were hurtful to the ear.’
    • ‘I remember struggling to plunk out the tunes on the family piano.’
    • ‘Father brought home an old harpsichord, and we even tried to teach ourselves how to play, sitting side by side in the parlor, my right hand and his left hand, plunking away at the keys.’
    • ‘However, it's impossible not to be struck by the confidence of the production and the performers, who open the show as a ramshackle band plunking out a handful of traditional songs.’
    • ‘‘She never has any,’ David said, picking up an old worn acoustic that my grandfather gave me when I was a kid, and plunking through some tunes.’
    • ‘That's all right; I was just plunking a few notes.’
    • ‘And she is slowly plunking out the melody now, a pretty thing.’
    • ‘They walked in, picked up their instruments and Nick started plinking and plunking at the piano.’
    • ‘Even during casual conversation he plunks out impromptu background music.’
    • ‘When she was four she sat down at the family piano and plunked out a shockingly respectable rendition of ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.’’
    • ‘His fingers plunked dully on the wrong key, and the young man wrenched his attention away and resumed his disjointed playing to the end of the piece.’
    • ‘As a child, I took a few violin and piano lessons but never got past awkward plucking and plunking.’
    strum, pick, thrum, twang, plunk, finger
    View synonyms
  • 2US [with object] Hit (someone) abruptly:

    ‘he plunked him in the back’
    • ‘These days, inside pitches, many of which plunk a hitter, are delivered in retaliation for a teammate who was plunked or knocked to the ground by a baserunner while trying to turn a double play.’
    • ‘I should mention that while I was critiquing my work, a dog started to trot across the park, but I managed to plunk him in the head with an acorn before he could wreck my work.’
    • ‘Next thing I knew I was plunked a millimetre above the elbow.’
    • ‘One thing that's very different for Johnson this season is that he's standing further off the plate, with one of the results being that he's yet to get hit by a pitch after being plunked 12 times last year.’
    • ‘But through 42 games, Giants hitters had been plunked 13 times, which projects to 50 for the season.’
    • ‘Their veteran is closing in on 3,000 safeties, while setting a painful record for most times being plunked by a pitch’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Kramer's away at a baseball camp where he plunks Joe.’
  • 3North American [with object and adverbial] Set down heavily or abruptly:

    ‘she plunked her pack on top of the bar’
    • ‘A refill of coffee was plunked down in front of her.’
    • ‘After bringing the food, the proprietor plunked down a linen-lined basket of the most excellent slices of still-warm baguette that I've had in Paris.’
    • ‘There is no argument from him when aunties bundle him off to the house, to quickly change his clothes, and then plunk him onto the back seat of the car next to his mother.’
    • ‘She leans over, elbows plunking on the table, face falling into her hands.’
    • ‘Chelsea, you could easily get pneumonia in this weather,’ I yelled, whipping off my baseball cap and plunking it on top of her head.’
    • ‘Dominic picked me up off his lap and plunked me on the floor.’
    • ‘However, landscaping with stones is not as easy as plunking down some rocks into the middle of a group of plants.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, I heard someone coming into the room just as I was plunking down my drink on my shelf.’
    • ‘The orphanage worker led her into his office, and she plunked down ten thousand dollars - in cash - on the desk.’
    • ‘Mr. Wilder headed upstairs for bed, and Kate wandered back over to her couch, plunking down in it and picking up her dog-eared book.’
    • ‘Rudy laughed, plunking his beer glass on the bar.’
    • ‘Then get him a ride home, or failing that, plunk him on the nearest sofa.’
    • ‘‘Two pounds,’ Dad repeats, plunking the coins onto the counter in disbelief.’
    • ‘A second later he heard steps on the stairs, and popped his head over the back of the couch to see Kate plunking down the stairs fiddling with the straps on her dress.’
    • ‘It's her hometown, but she's as lost as if she'd been plunked down in the middle of a rainforest.’
    1. 3.1plunk something down Pay a sum of money:
      ‘I plunked down £14.95 for the new paperback edition’
      • ‘He recommends that consumers think about noise when plunking their cash down on items such as car alarms (bar locks work just as well), or gas mowers, which are far noisier than their electric cousins.’
      • ‘By offering bonus goodies on the Web accessible only by those who purchase the disc, the reasoning goes, fans will be more apt to plunk their money down for a legitimate copy, rather than resort to mp3-swapping.’
      • ‘Well, while I never actually plunked any money down to support Jerry's particular dream, I did take in the odd feature at the revamped picture palace.’


  • 1The sound made by abruptly plucking a string of a stringed instrument:

    ‘the singing was punctuated by the plunks of the guitar’
    • ‘Meantime, piano practice is a peculiar process, with an occasional plunk as my little finger fails to function as it ought, each plunk closely followed by one of a selection of mild curse words from me.’
    • ‘Double bassist Paul Harris marvelously played throughout the work, even after his G-string (the one on the double bass, please) snapped with a loud plunk.’
    • ‘This song is the opening track, and the steady plunk of the keyboard draws me into the song and doesn't let go until the final breath of the vocals fade.’
    • ‘Between songs he crouches and we can all hear the plunk plunk of strings being tuned.’
  • 2US A heavy blow.

    • ‘Suddenly I felt a soft plunk of warm, gooey mashed potatoes hit my head.’
    • ‘Colorado pitchers put the Astros lifer over the top, delivering his last five plunks, three by Jason Jennings.’


Early 19th century: probably imitative.