Definition of dunk in US English:



  • 1with object Dip (bread or other food) into a drink or soup before eating it.

    ‘she dunked a piece of bread into her coffee’
    • ‘Some historians believe that our ancestors used to dunk pieces of scorched bread into tankards of beer or wine to improve the taste, but it is hard to imagine how foul their brew must have been.’
    • ‘Old-time herbalists dunked herbs in wine or liquor for this effect.’
    • ‘Sneaking over to the cauldron, she quickly dunked the stale loaf into the cauldron.’
    • ‘They each tore at their individual bagels, spread cream cheese on the torn off piece, and proceeded to dunk the piece in a communal cup of coffee.’
    • ‘She enjoys it like you would a good olive oil, scanning it for flavour and nuance - I think she'd dunk her bread in it if the artichoke soup hadn't claimed it first.’
    • ‘There's no such thing as a cup of tea or coffee - it's served in bowls and it's quite acceptable to dunk your brioche (but in a nice, polite way).’
    • ‘The pleasure of taking a lovely fresh piece of ciabatta bread and dunking it into a small shallow dish of Rangihoua is to die for.’
    • ‘Tonight there will be row upon row of long tables set up, where the brave gastronome can tuck into boiled snails or dunk fresh bread into pots of hot, unidentified tagine: Morocco is not ideal for vegetarians.’
    • ‘Katrina had to hold herself properly and not slurp up her soup, or dunk bread into it either.’
    • ‘One tears off a piece of pitka and dunks the torn surface into the choubritsa before eating it.’
    • ‘She is also fond of risotto, mild goat's cheese, olives, breadsticks and pitta bread, especially if she can dunk them in some creamy hummus.’
    • ‘Some hostesses like to begin by providing an oil fondue so guests may deep-fry their own meat and vegetables, which may then be dunked into various dipping sauces.’
    • ‘After all, the non-smokers don't realise that their smoking colleagues have already built up a rapport with other smokers whilst they were busy drinking tea, dunking biscuits and queuing for the loo!’
    • ‘Everyone grabs a special fondue fork (a super long fork with two tiny tines), and they spear a piece of food and then dunk it in the pot!’
    • ‘Pensioners can have a cup of tea and a biscuit for 5p and all the gardeners roll up to dunk their digestives in the afternoon sunshine.’
    • ‘I would never see Grandpa again, never sit on his lap dunking my toast into his sweet coffee, nor follow him to his workshop to mend a rake, nor idle the afternoon away with a scrap of wood and a hammer and nails.’
    • ‘It's very satisfying to hear the oil sizzling loudly as you dunk the meat in, but for flavour I would recommend the Chinese fondue.’
    • ‘He sat at the kitchen table and dunked the toast into the coffee.’
    • ‘My method is to dunk each fruit in a glass of champagne and eat it whole while still dripping.’
    • ‘‘So, Chris,’ I said, dunking another cookie, my fifth today, into my milk.’
    scald, boil
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    1. 1.1 Immerse or dip in water.
      ‘the bikers dunked themselves in the ocean’
      ‘the camera survived a dunking in a stream’
      • ‘She felt as though she had been dunked under water.’
      • ‘Can your controller and receiver survive being dunked in a typical construction-site puddle?’
      • ‘This could be as simple for a player as dousing his face with a stream from a water bottle or dunking his body in a huge tub.’
      • ‘He yelled over the clanking and hissing of the hot metal being dunked into cold water.’
      • ‘Her dark strands were already dripping with water from her having dunked her entire head under the running faucet.’
      • ‘They play in the water, dunking each other, and then play in the sand until they get bored.’
      • ‘She got into the steaming water and dunked her head under, holding her breath as long as she could.’
      • ‘I promptly filled the sink with water and dunked my head in, letting my ebony locks flop messily to the sides of my face.’
      • ‘She was having a wonderful time, giggling, splashing Minna, dunking Marlene under water.’
      • ‘But in the early days of the 1900s, some ‘fakes’ were attempting to heal people by dunking them in cold water or prescribing alcohol as a cure all.’
      • ‘Something as fine as this shouldn't just be dunked in water.’
      • ‘I dunked myself under the water one more time, rinsing the rest of the stuff off.’
      • ‘She took a plate from the top of the dirty stack and dunked it into the water.’
      • ‘I then dunked my head under water, rinsing all of it out, as well as the dirt that remained near my scalp.’
      • ‘The others rolled their eyes as they swam around the pair, playing around, splashing and dunking one another underneath the cool water.’
      • ‘Just dunk them in boiling water for a minute, or layer them up in the dish with your sauces.’
      • ‘Make sure your hands are warm - dunk them in hot water to take away any surface chill.’
      • ‘After standing there, staring at each other for quite some time I dunked myself in the water and when I came back up he was under the water too.’
      • ‘She dunked her head under water and when she came up she swam over to my side of the pool.’
      • ‘Sprinting quickly down towards the edge, I ripped my hat off my head and dunked it in the water, ensuring it filled completely.’
      immerse, submerge, plunge, duck, lower, sink
      immersion, plunge, ducking, dunking
      View synonyms
  • 2Basketball
    no object Score by shooting the ball down through the basket with the hands above the rim.

    • ‘Once I got the ball my one intention was to dunk, and I didn't let anything get in my way.’
    • ‘When he dunks the ball, he rises obscenely high, rotates his arms in the air as if doing one of those over-the-head medicine ball exercises, and then unleashes upon the basket.’
    • ‘He can catch and shoot, can shoot off the dribble and can dunk in the fast break.’
    • ‘At our school we have several kids that can dunk but can't make the basketball team.’
    • ‘He lined up 4 guys under the basket and dunked over all of them.’


  • A shot downward into the basket with the hands above the rim.

    • ‘If anything, women's basketball should work to prove that they're above the fascination with the dunk and that they're willing to focus on the right things.’
    • ‘I was making everything: jump shots, lay-ups, dunks.’
    • ‘You'll have a number of tools at your disposal to rack up the points on the court, along with the usual jump shots, dunks and lay-ups.’
    • ‘They cheer at jet-engine volume whenever he fades away for a jumper or throws down a thundering dunk off of a fast break.’
    • ‘As far as anyone knows, prior to this season, there had been five dunks in the history of women's college basketball.’


Early 20th century: from Pennsylvanian German dunke ‘dip’, from German tunken ‘dip or plunge’.