The OED suggests an unattested Old English form *drūnian . Harper 2001 points to Old English druncnian, ġedruncnian (> Middle English drunknen, dronknen (“to drown”)), "probably influenced" by Old Norse drukkna (cf. Icelandic drukkna, Danish drukne (“to drown”)) . Funk & Wagnall's has 'of uncertain origin'. It has been theorised (see e.g. ODS)  that it may represent a direct loan of Old Norse drukkna, but this is described by the OED as being "on phonetic and other grounds [...] highly improbable" , unless one considers the possibility of an unattested variant in Old Norse *drunkna.
- (intransitive) To die from suffocation while immersed in water or other fluid.
- When I was a baby, I nearly drowned in the bathtub.
- 1594, William Shakespeare, Lucrece (First Quarto), London: […] Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, […], OCLC 236076664:
- Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear them mild / Continuance tames the one; the other wild, / Like an unpractised swimmer plunging still, / With too much labour drowns for want of skill.
- (transitive) To kill by suffocating in water or another liquid.
- The car thief fought with an officer and tried to drown a police dog before being shot while escaping.
- 1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii]:
- The pretty-vaulting sea refused to drown me, / Knowing that thou wouldst have me drown’d on shore, / With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness:
- (intransitive) To be flooded: to be inundated with or submerged in (literally) water or (figuratively) other things; to be overwhelmed.
- We are drowning in information but starving for wisdom.
- (transitive, figuratively) To inundate, submerge, overwhelm.
- He drowns his sorrows in buckets of chocolate ice cream.
- c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene vii]:
- Come, thou monarch of the vine, / Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne! / In thy fats our cares be drown’d, / With thy grapes our hairs be crown’d:
- 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter XIV, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume II, London: A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292, book VII, page 71–72:
- Unluckily that worthy Officer having, in a literal Sense, taken his Fill of Liquor, had been some Time retired to his Bolster, where he was snoaring so loud, that it was not easy to convey a Noise in at his Ears capable of drowning that which issued from his Nostrils.
- (transitive, figuratively, usually passive) To obscure, particularly amid an overwhelming volume of other items.
- The answers intelligence services seek are often drowned in the flood of information they can now gather.
When using the term figuratively to describe overwhelming sounds, the form drown out is now usually employed.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- Soft mutation of .
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.|