Definition of tank in English:



  • 1A large receptacle or storage chamber, especially for liquid or gas.

    • ‘Moreover, much of the water supply is deliberately contaminated by willful destruction of sewers, water pipes and storage tanks.’
    • ‘There are temperature controlled fermenters and storage tanks, and good new oak barrels for maturation.’
    • ‘The rainwater falling on the rooftop, which acts as the catchment area, is directed to the storage tank with the help of specially made channels using PVC pipes.’
    • ‘Storage tanks will also be built to treat stormwater.’
    • ‘The toxic waste flooded footpaths, flowed through a forest and onto playing fields after the storage tank on the road overflowed.’
    • ‘New emission limits will be imposed on the company when recycled liquid fuel is used and purpose-built secure on-site storage tanks will be used to store the fuel.’
    • ‘Probably the best system would have been to run them off natural gas and to have created storage tanks near the pumps in case the gas lines failed.’
    • ‘Currently, the plant has two cream storage tanks and three raw milk storage tanks.’
    • ‘We understand that there is a gas leak and a possible shearing of an oil storage tank as well or a leak in a storage tank.’
    • ‘The underground storage tanks for these chemicals (and you can be sure there were many in the Silicon Valley) sometimes leaked.’
    • ‘He had breached several conditions of his licence by failing to notify the Petroleum Licensing Authority of his intention to discontinue the use of petroleum spirit storage tanks.’
    • ‘Its oil refinery and farms of storage tanks disburse petroleum products to much of South-East Asia.’
    • ‘There are eight raw storage tanks plus an outdoor silo for all liquid ingredients, with capacity totaling 54,000 gallons.’
    • ‘The protest forced the field to halt production in order to prevent its 2,000-barrel storage tanks from overflowing.’
    • ‘With the boiler and storage tanks removed from the cinder block building, that seemed to be the best first place to look.’
    • ‘Sperm is traditionally stored in large liquid nitrogen tanks together with a protective chemical that must be removed before fertilisation.’
    • ‘In Atlanta, a retired attorney of impeccable reputation was arrested for trying to take photos of some storage tanks.’
    • ‘In fact, the effective storage of most hydro tanks is about 18 percent of the total volume.’
    • ‘As you can see from the figure below, the baffle extends to the top of the tank, and the liquid passes through holes below the water line.’
    • ‘Only two tonnes of liquid chlorine spilt from a storage tank after an equipment failure, but it was enough to cause plenty of drama.’
    1. 1.1The container holding the fuel supply in a motor vehicle, aircraft, etc.
      • ‘Self-sealing crashworthy fuel tanks have explosion suppression and non-return valves.’
      • ‘The car has been plagued by two recalls and at least six repair notices, ranging from faulty fuel tanks to seat belt flaws.’
      • ‘Fuel tanks could be considered the container of the lifeblood of your Mazda.’
      • ‘Then the airflow is diffused, only to be recompressed and diffused again as it moves along the underside of the car past the muffler and the fuel tank.’
      • ‘The rear seat sat above the fuel tank, which was accessed via a filler door located low on the body side, just behind the driver's door.’
      • ‘A look at old race cars, with their exposed fuel tanks and absence of seatbelts, is a sobering reminder of just how vulnerable the drivers once were.’
      • ‘Both plastic fuel tanks and plastic intake manifolds have experienced significant gains since 1995.’
      • ‘If so, he will not be as quick with a fuller tank of fuel come the first race.’
      • ‘With a full tank of fuel, the weight bias shifts rearwards slightly, which helps traction, as does the standard limited slip differential.’
      • ‘He notes, for example that there are additional opportunities for plastic fuel tanks.’
      • ‘This is why drivers are asked to turn off their automobile engines, and not smoke, when filling fuel tanks with gasoline.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fuel tank and exhaust pipe routing were modified slightly to accommodate the new subframe.’
      • ‘This fitting design actually pressurizes the fuel tank and forces gasoline out of the fill pipe and it flows into the bilge.’
      • ‘In the aftermath of a collision cars with full fuel tanks tend to go up in flames killing the occupants who might have survived the collision.’
      • ‘After spinning out in Saturday's qualifying, he would have started in the back of the pack anyway, so his team gave his car a fresh engine and a full tank of fuel as soon as the race started.’
      • ‘But remember, a full tank of fuel costs £77 and lasts just over 300 miles.’
      • ‘Fuel tanks in the racing cars are located to the left of the driver so a two-seat conversion requires it to be moved to the rear of the car - no small job.’
      • ‘In rural areas, there are normally only a few service stations, so when travelling long distances, be sure to leave with a full tank of fuel.’
      • ‘I get a free car for a week, brand spanking new, with that gorgeous new-car smell and most probably a full tank of petrol, to drive wherever I want?’
      container, receptacle, vat, cistern, barrel, storage chamber, repository, reservoir, holder, basin
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    2. 1.2A receptacle with transparent sides in which to keep fish; an aquarium.
      • ‘After wiping mud from the fish she put it on its side in a tank of water and soon enough it was swimming around.’
      • ‘I soon go sit down in front of my fish tank and do a little meditation.’
      • ‘A new shark has been introduced with the sand tiger sharks into the tanks of a British aquarium.’
      • ‘The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology will continue to need access to the site to work on its 80 fish tanks.’
      • ‘I would have to say fish - I wanted a dog and my parents got us a fish tank.’
      • ‘The stimulus tanks also were supplied with airstones, but none of the tanks contained filters because they would have impeded the view of both the focal fish and the observer.’
      • ‘A fish tank bubbled quietly next to the sliding glass doors which looked out upon the lake.’
      • ‘The workers raise chickens, grow their own vegetables, have a fish tank and rent out space for horses.’
      • ‘You can tell that the ‘underwater’ shots are filmed behind a tank of aquarium fish, plastic plants and all.’
      • ‘Custom tanks for large specialty fish can run in the thousands of dollars, plus extra for proper heating and filtration.’
      • ‘Staff were asked to replace damaged glass tops to aquarium tanks, and they were also told that keeping an incubation facility in the zoo kitchen is ‘inappropriate’.’
      • ‘The aquarium has also done some research and development on pressurized tanks to display fish, but a window on such a system has to be so small that only one or two people can look into a tank at a time.’
      • ‘Despite the size of the sharks, she felt at ease in the underwater environment and helped clean the tank and feed the aquariums other fish.’
      • ‘At other shops the undercover vets found tarantulas and scorpions within reach of children, fish in murky tanks and ignorant staff who recommended dangerous animals for family homes.’
      • ‘The first story is about a young Clownfish named Nemo who gets captured from his home in the ocean and wants to escape the domesticated captivity of a fish tank and find his way back to the sea.’
      • ‘We were walking through the aquarium, glass fish tanks surrounding us on all sides.’
      • ‘Feeding guppies in a fish tank has never been so much fun.’
      • ‘Fish were held in large plastic tanks or large aquaria when not being used, and they were fed frozen chironomids and live damselfly larvae.’
      • ‘One couple was shown exchanging vows submerged in an aquarium tank, diving bells over their heads, while tropical fish swam past.’
      • ‘They garden in the small areas around the house, put out the bird food, and feed the fish in the fish tanks.’
      aquarium, bowl
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  • 2A heavy armored fighting vehicle carrying guns and moving on a continuous articulated metal track.

    • ‘First, the front warhead destroys the reactive armour and then the rear warhead has free passage to penetrate the main body armour of the tank.’
    • ‘They fought tanks, armored personnel carriers, jets and precision munitions with Datsun pickups.’
    • ‘The mission of the aircraft is ground attack against tanks, armoured vehicles and installations, and close air support of ground forces.’
    • ‘Correspondingly, would Rommel have achieved even greater success with his tactical genius and an endless supply of tanks and fuel?’
    • ‘Also for sale are evocative photographs of the Queen's Park works which was switched from making steam locomotives to producing tanks during the Second World War.’
    • ‘Other reports indicated that hundreds of people were being indiscriminately mowed down by tanks and armoured vehicles in various suburbs.’
    • ‘The helicopters, accompanied by tanks and heavy Bradley fighting vehicles, arrived later than many expected.’
    • ‘In the late hours of 16 November tanks, armoured vehicles and elite army units started to move towards the city centre.’
    • ‘Both tanks contained full combat loads of high explosive rounds, as well as .50 caliber and 7.62 rounds.’
    • ‘The Marines have captured two bridges and moved hundreds of tanks, armoured vehicles, fuel trucks, Humvees and other military vehicles across them in the past few days.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were tanks on both sides of the border and his regime imprisoned many Soviet sympathizers (real or just suspected).’
    • ‘Within a week, Hitler had occupied the Sudetenland, and six months later German tanks rolled into Prague.’
    • ‘Sophisticated hardware including helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles is often useless because it is an easy target for enemies.’
    • ‘It was used in Baghdad last year to attack side streets where tanks were thought to be hiding.’
    • ‘That night the cabinet rounded up the strike leaders and flooded Glasgow with tanks and trainloads of troops to break the strike.’
    • ‘In short, tanks and troops alone will not win this struggle.’
    • ‘Following its use as a storage site for tanks during the war, the road has been kept usable by constant patching up.’
    • ‘My tanks reached the northern side of the bridge leading to Saigon.’
    armoured vehicle, armoured car, combat vehicle
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  • 3North American informal A cell in a police station or jail.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    dungeon, oubliette, lock-up, prison
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  • 1Fill the tank of a vehicle with fuel.

    ‘the cars stopped to tank up’
    • ‘Yesterday evening, when I'd recovered from the journey, I went over to Minehead for provisions and to tank up the car.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As gasoline prices climb ever higher and the U.S. Senate backs oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the possibility of a hydrogen economy – where drivers tank up on clean-burning hydrogen fuel – gleams more brightly.’
    • ‘Last August, GM showed the result: a gasoline processor that could allow fuel cell vehicles to tank up at local gas stations.’
    • ‘"Let's go down to the town, tank the car up, get some flowers for your mother, and have lunch in MacDonald's".’
    • ‘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. 1.1informal Drink heavily; become drunk.
      ‘they get tanked up before the game’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘"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.’
      • ‘Rather, it's the ones who travel to another country without any grasp of the language, get tanked up on booze, and sing ‘Two World Wars and One World Cup’ every time they see a German.’
      • ‘He was reclining in his chair getting tanked on Uncle's home brew.’
      • ‘Did the previous writers mention that they dressed like they were hitting the beach at 3.00 a.m. tanked up on beer?’
      • ‘The gist of it is, two fans are leaving a game, slightly tanked.’
      • ‘I was a cadet officer in those times - and I was a well-behaved one, before he tells me anything different - and one of the junior engineers got tanked up on a Greek plane with a Greek captain in charge.’
      • ‘They get out some booze and proceed to get tanked up like my Uncle at the ‘Family Reunion.’’
      • ‘He, once it opened, headed straight to the bar, as if he hadn't drunk enough porter and whiskey and proceeded to tank up again.’
      • ‘They were apparently all going to an under-18 disco at the Club in Swanley and had decided to get tanked up beforehand.’
      • ‘A reasonable person would not be with the drunk driver while he's getting even more tanked up and still put him back behind the wheel.’
      • ‘You can tank up on powerful Sake while you dine on their noodles, and you can knock back Martinis and Cosmos in the bar later on when the fashion elite make their entrances.’
      • ‘Fortified by carry-outs of strong lager and vodka, he would get tanked up before setting out to cause mayhem in the area.’
      • ‘They are all out getting tanked in the marquee, as most members opposite were until a few minutes ago.’
      • ‘You all know those kinds of drunks that no matter how tanked they get they still seem to get keep their wits.’
      • ‘It's unlicensed so if you need some bevvies to jumble up the courage, get tanked up elsewhere.’
      • ‘With most everyone tanked and soaked, the 10-hour nighttime drive to the Lake was unanimously the worst of the entire trip.’
      • ‘The ‘not so bright’ builder was tanked up on booze and decided that it would be fun to fire a loaded 11 mm pistol in a public area.’
      • ‘So we were tanking up, smoking, talking nonsense, enjoying the once-a-month concession to our younger selves our wives allow us.’
      • ‘‘This will result in either people staying in and drinking or getting tanked up before they go out,’ he said.’
  • 2US informal Fail completely, especially at great financial cost.

    • ‘Subsequently, the film tanked at the box office, proving that when terror is on the rise, folks don't want to spend nine dollars to watch even more realistic horror unfold in their local multiplex.’
    • ‘After a shaky second quarter, real gross domestic product entered the third quarter with a good head of steam even as the stock market was tanking.’
    • ‘As the rest of Asia's economies tanked during the financial crisis that began in 1997, Taiwan remained afloat.’
    • ‘While most of the recent rash of trashy comedies tanked at the box office, I would not be surprised if at least some made money anyways with such low budgets.’
    • ‘Some of these workers lost tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to their jobs, when the stock tanked and the company went bankrupt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The reason you haven't heard of them is because they tanked at the box office.’
    • ‘That's because it's easy to point to the organization if a project tanks or gets cut off because of a perceived security hole.’
    • ‘It has been widely reported that profits have tanked over the past two years for OEMs and large publicly traded parts suppliers.’
    • ‘The sense that a candidate is tanking - or on a roll - can make the difference between a potential donor making a contribution or keeping his checkbook in his pocket.’
    • ‘Dot-coms may tank, but the empty offices they leave behind don't look quite as ugly.’
    • ‘But, when the movie tanked, all bets for a sequel were off.’
    • ‘As he points out, because of the market's gradual appreciation through the years – despite occasionally tanking as it did this spring – the longer the time horizon lower the variability of return on investment.’
    • ‘Had the book tanked and gone the deep discount route of so many widely unwanted Canadian books, it would have seemed highly irregular for us to wonder why it had failed to connect with people.’
    • ‘The fact the film tanked at the box office is likely an indication it's out of its time, culturally speaking.’
    • ‘But if the market continues to slide, the recession rears up, and Republican numbers keep tanking, it will take more than the gerrymanderer's art to keep him in control of the House.’
    • ‘After all, during the Gulf War, sales of large gas-consuming vehicles literally tanked.’
    • ‘I know a great deal about movies - what's tanking, what's opened wide, what's in turnaround, what the buzz is.’
    • ‘He was also a billionaire for a few months before the stock tanked.’
    • ‘After the music stopped and the stock tanked and they collapsed into bankruptcy, everyone on Wall Street pretended to be absolutely shocked that such a thing could happen.’
    1. 2.1North American [with object](in sports) deliberately lose or fail to finish (a game)
      ‘the lackluster performance prompted speculation that he tanked the second set’
      • ‘Fair or not, the team has earned a reputation as a team that tanks in tough situations.’
      • ‘The team would see a spike in attendance, and depending on how bad he is, could actually get worse without looking like they're tanking to get the top draft pick.’
      • ‘On the other hand, maybe they knew what the evil player was up to and tanked to deprive him of one last baseball thrill.’
      • ‘There are any numbers of instances where top players have ‘tanked’ first round matches just to get home early.’
      • ‘The team begins this season with a thrilling comeback against Washington State, then tanks the next three games.’
      • ‘And I always tried my best; I wouldn't tank matches.’
      • ‘That would explain why the team tanked deceptively early this season, before suspicion could be aroused.’
      • ‘When asked last week about the possibility of a team tanking in the final days to improve its playoff position, the deputy commissioner said the league was not concerned.’
      • ‘They simply tanked in the play-offs when he had to sit out with a hip injury…’
      • ‘Unless you'd rather believe that the Yankee hitters all hate him and are tanking deliberately in games when he starts.’
      • ‘In fact reports say he even had to dodge the question of whether the Indians tanked the match!’
      • ‘No, but while some teams choose to tank, others have a tanked season forced upon them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They became the second straight team with a top-ranked offense to tank on Super Bowl Sunday.’


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.