Definition of plunk in US English:



  • 1no object Play a keyboard or plucked stringed instrument, especially in an inexpressive or unskilled way.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a child, I took a few violin and piano lessons but never got past awkward plucking and plunking.’
    • ‘They walked in, picked up their instruments and Nick started plinking and plunking at the piano.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘And she is slowly plunking out the melody now, a pretty thing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That's all right; I was just plunking a few notes.’
    • ‘Even during casual conversation he plunks out impromptu background music.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘I remember struggling to plunk out the tunes on the family piano.’
    • ‘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.’
    strum, pick, thrum, twang, finger
    View synonyms
  • 2US with object Hit (someone) abruptly.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Next thing I knew I was plunked a millimetre above the elbow.’
    bang, slam, crash, thump, sling, fling
    View synonyms
  • 3North American with object and adverbial Put or set (something) down heavily or abruptly.

    ‘she plunked her purse on top of the bar’
    • ‘Chelsea, you could easily get pneumonia in this weather,’ I yelled, whipping off my baseball cap and plunking it on top of her head.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, I heard someone coming into the room just as I was plunking down my drink on my shelf.’
    • ‘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 refill of coffee was plunked down in front of her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dominic picked me up off his lap and plunked me on the floor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rudy laughed, plunking his beer glass on the bar.’
    • ‘She leans over, elbows plunking on the table, face falling into her hands.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, landscaping with stones is not as easy as plunking down some rocks into the middle of a group of plants.’
    • ‘The orphanage worker led her into his office, and she plunked down ten thousand dollars - in cash - on the desk.’
    • ‘It's her hometown, but she's as lost as if she'd been plunked down in the middle of a rainforest.’
    put down, put, set, set down, lay down, deposit, position, plant, rest, stand, sit, settle, station, situate, leave, stow, prop, lean
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Pay (money) on the spot or abruptly.
      ‘I gladly plunked down my ten dollars’
      • ‘At least make sure you're plunking down those extra bucks for the plan that serves you best.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Honestly, without Martha, why plunk down $28 for 12 issues?’
      • ‘For prospective buyers, full disclosure of a home's history should be seen as a tip off that a certified home inspector be called in before the buyer plunks down any cash.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, he plunked down his scarce money for a brand-new $2,800 computer, plus $1, 500 in software, for everyone he hired.’
      • ‘Consumers are plunking down cash and credit on sales counters from coast to coast.’
      • ‘I plunked down $25 at a record swap a few years ago for it; it was one of those events where I'd traveled an hour to get there, but lost all motivation to buy anything after looking around for a few minutes.’
      • ‘After all, Ellison just plunked down $80 million to sponsor a team in the America's Cup challenge in 2003.’
      • ‘Poker players from all over the globe have plunked down the $10,000 it takes to compete in the world's most prestigious poker tournament.’
      • ‘In the last six months, investors have plunked down more than $57 billion for European telecom properties.’
      • ‘Thousands of women flocked to cosmetic counters, plunking down millions, only to be disappointed.’
      • ‘It looked like real protection so I plunked down the thirty bucks and waited.’
      • ‘He recently plunked down $65,000 of his own funds to purchase an 83,000-square-foot building and is looking to raise $6 million to renovate it.’
      • ‘Instead, he is plunking down a little cash and a lot of stock to buy a bank in Britain, where competition for customers is fierce and the pound has been strong against the euro.’
      • ‘At 18, she plunked down the money she'd been saving for years to buy a train ticket to Manhattan and leave her cow town behind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both Monday and Tuesday, more than 100 guests with an appetite for scintillating conversation and yummy fare plunked down a minimum $200 each for dinner with a supreme personality.’
      • ‘I thought, jeez I can't plunk down $1400 up front!’
      • ‘Within a week, he had plunked down $70 to secure an internet domain name.’
      • ‘After plunking down upwards of 300 bucks for the system, don't we have the right to play games that push the technological envelope?’
      • ‘Within weeks, Mann plunked down $149 for a set-top box that lets her receive the free, over-the-air signals.’
    2. 3.2plunk oneself down Sit down in a hurried or undignified way.
      ‘she plunks herself down on the stool’
      • ‘I insisted, plunking myself down in one of the armchairs and sinking into its comfy goodness.’
      • ‘She plunked herself down in a seat and took out her books.’
      • ‘Emma plunked herself down at the table and rested her chin in her hands.’
      • ‘Finally finding an unoccupied table, she plunked herself down.’
      • ‘Joss plunked herself down behind one desk, and I took the other.’
      • ‘Jennifer plunked herself down on a nearby bench.’
      • ‘And, while I don't generally go out of my way to buy kids books, I have no qualms about going to the library, plunking myself down in the kids section, and reading a few books.’
      • ‘‘Gotta email someone,’ Declan replied, plunking himself down onto the swivel chair.’
      • ‘She had just dozed off on the waiting room sofa when she was suddenly awakened by the presence of someone plunking themselves down beside her.’
      • ‘The tall dark man plunked himself down on the couch by the window.’
      • ‘The little girl made her way to the table on the other side of the hearth and plunked herself down on the bench she always sat on at mealtimes.’
      • ‘Laurel walked over to him and plunked herself down on his lap.’
      • ‘‘You're annoying sometimes, too,’ mused Jenna aloud, plunking herself down beside Clara.’
      • ‘I stopped almost as abruptly as I had begun, and plunked myself down on the ground where I stood.’
      • ‘He plunks himself down on the desk, maintaining eye contact.’
      • ‘I took his advice and plunked myself down on a nice patio and thoroughly enjoyed an Italian meal in the evening sunshine.’
      • ‘Eddie plunks himself down in the matching chair beside her.’
      • ‘And then I went out into the lobby area and plunked myself down on one of the couches near the front desk.’
      • ‘Brandon plunked himself down into a chair; his legs sprawled out before him, and stared at his feet.’
      • ‘‘Hey,’ he said, plunking himself down in the chair across from mine.’


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Between songs he crouches and we can all hear the plunk plunk of strings being tuned.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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.