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  • IPA(key): /plʌnd͡ʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌnd͡ʒ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English plungen, ploungen, Anglo-Norman plungier, from Old French plongier, (Modern French plonger), from unattested Late Latin frequentative *plumbicō (to throw a leaded line), from plumbum (lead). Compare plumb, plounce.


plunge (third-person singular simple present plunges, present participle plunging, simple past and past participle plunged)

  1. (transitive) To thrust into liquid, or into any penetrable substance; to immerse.
    to plunge the body into water
  2. (figuratively, transitive) To cast, stab or throw into some thing, state, condition or action.
    to plunge a dagger into the breast
    to plunge a nation into war
    the city was plunged into darkness
    • 2019 May 19, Alex McLevy, “The final Game Of Thrones brings a pensive but simple meditation about stories (newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      Jon isn’t lying when he tells her she will always be his queen, right before plunging a knife into her. He genuinely swore obedience, and sees himself as a traitor when he commits the deeds.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To baptize by immersion.
  4. (intransitive) To dive, leap or rush (into water or some liquid); to submerge oneself.
    he plunged into the river
  5. (figuratively, intransitive) To fall or rush headlong into some thing, action, state or condition.
    to plunge into debt
    to plunge into controversy
    profits plunge 90%
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter VIII, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      The day was cool and snappy for August, and the Rise all green with a lavish nature. Now we plunged into a deep shade with the boughs lacing each other overhead, and crossed dainty, rustic bridges over the cold trout-streams, the boards giving back the clatter of our horses' feet: [] .
    • 2022 August 17, Chris Isidore, “Target profit plunges 90% as inflation-weary shoppers pull back”, in CNN[2]:
      Target reported profit plunged 90% in the second quarter, falling far short of expectations, as inflation-weary customers pulled back on spending on nonessential items.
  6. (intransitive) To pitch or throw oneself headlong or violently forward, as a horse does.
    • 1648, J[oseph] Hall, chapter LXXXVI, in Select Thoughts: Or, Choice Helps for a Pious Spirit. [], London: [] Nath[aniel] Brooke, [], published 1654, →OCLC, pages 249–250:
      [N]ature affects a looſe kinde of liberty, vvhich it cannot indure to have reſtrained: neither fares it othervviſe vvith it, then vvith ſome vvilde colt; which at the firſt taking up, flings and plunges, and vvill ſtand on no ground; but after it hath been ſomvvhile diſciplin'd at the Poſt, is grovvn tractable, and quietly ſubmits either to the ſaddle, or the collar: []
  7. (intransitive, slang) To bet heavily and recklessly; to risk large sums in gambling.
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To entangle or embarrass (mostly used in past participle).
  9. (intransitive, obsolete) To overwhelm, overpower.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


plunge (plural plunges)

  1. The act of plunging or submerging.
  2. A dive, leap, rush, or pitch into (into water).
    to take the water with a plunge
    A plunge into the sea
  3. (dated) A swimming pool.
  4. (figuratively) The act of pitching or throwing oneself headlong or violently forward, like an unruly horse.
  5. (slang) Heavy and reckless betting in horse racing; hazardous speculation.
    Synonym: plunger
  6. (obsolete) An immersion in difficulty, embarrassment, or distress; the condition of being surrounded or overwhelmed; a strait; difficulty.

Etymology 2[edit]

Back-formation from plunger.


plunge (third-person singular simple present plunges, present participle plunging, simple past and past participle plunged)

  1. (transitive) To remove a blockage by suction.
    to plunge a toilet