Definition of plunger in US English:



  • 1A device consisting of a rubber cup on a long handle, used to clear blocked pipes by means of water pressure.

    • ‘Insert the plunger at an angle so no air is trapped under the cup.’
    • ‘We headed home where we spent an enjoyable evening removing Italian Beef Casserole from the kitchen sink with a plunger.’
    • ‘In this case, the kitchen gully was stuffed with a mixture of liquid cooking oil and soap powder, which could easily have been unblocked by flushing with water or by using a plunger or rods.’
    • ‘She slid the needle into the flesh, and pressed the plunger.’
    • ‘After plugging the overflow drain, use the plunger exactly as you would in opening an ordinary sink.’
    • ‘Take a suction cup plunger and pump it up and down directly over the clogged drain.’
    • ‘Barry owns what seems to be a relatively successful business which distributes specialty toilet plungers.’
    • ‘The meeting was told how he even allowed one Christmas Day to be interrupted to go and unblock a resident's toilet with his own plunger!’
    • ‘A plunger is fine for clogs caused by excessive waste and tissue, but if you use one for other obstructions there is an added risk that you might simply move the object out of reach.’
    • ‘Get rid of the water in the tank by flushing, then bail out the water that is in the bowl using a plunger to force the rest of the water into the bowl, then mop it up with sponges.’
    • ‘We have tried using a bucket of water and a plunger and finally are able to force everything down.’
    • ‘If it's a case of too much paper or other matter causing a stoppage, a plunger should work.’
    • ‘Force as much water as possible out of traps with a plunger.’
    1. 1.1 A part of a device or mechanism that works with a plunging or thrusting movement.
      • ‘I was provided with the same sized mug as Ann and a spherical clear teapot, with a cafetière-like plunger.’
      • ‘The auto-disable mechanism works by locking the plunger of the syringe after a dosage has been given and automatically makes it impossible to reuse the syringe.’
      • ‘By that I meant to pull the emergency plunger to make the train brake sharply.’
      • ‘This gardening tool is considered the best among all the garden shredders since it is available with a plunger for increased portability and built-in wheels.’
      • ‘A new option for micromolders is an injection machine that replaces the traditional screw with a motor-driven plunger.’
      • ‘The owner of the first raffle ticket drawn will be invited to press the plunger on July 14 in front of a crowd of thousands.’
      • ‘After pressing the plunger the lights across the city lit up as one.’
      • ‘When the gong and clappers on a doorbell unit or the plungers on a mechanical chime unit get dirty and dusty, dip a cotton swab in alcohol to clean them.’
      • ‘I could instantly see how the tea was progressing, and the plunger kept the leaves out of the way until the pot was drained.’
      • ‘I may have to invest in a small coffee plunger, so I can froth my own milk.’
      • ‘She then dug around in it until she found a medical box and brought out a needle with a plunger, filling it with anesthetic.’
      • ‘The pressure pad on top pushes down a plunger which detonates the explosive charge in the mine.’
      • ‘Pull the plunger to draw into the syringe an amount of air equal to the amount of intermediate- or long-acting insulin you need.’
      • ‘He slowly depressed the plunger and once the syringe was empty, withdrew the needle and stepped back.’
      • ‘When the plunger is moved by means of a button or lever assembly at one end of the pin, the locking element retracts.’
      • ‘Just push a plunger, and the plug is mechanically locked in place.’
      • ‘Invert the syringe (point tip upwards) and slowly press the plunger to a level that pushed out any large air bubbles that may be present.’
      • ‘Slowly depress the syringe plunger to begin feeding.’
      • ‘Hugo pressed the plunger of the coffee pot down carelessly.’
  • 2informal A person who gambles or spends money recklessly.

    • ‘Our man braved the winter elements to report on the event and capture some of the plungers on camera.’
    • ‘This was a race for the plungers, the speculators, the people who trade commodities and bet the house that the price of nutmeg will skyrocket.’
    • ‘Not often do plungers sprinkle their market fixations with references to Dante and Homer.’
    backer, staker, speculator, risk-taker, better
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