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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.


  • IPA(key): /plʌndʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌndʒ


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.
    • 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.
    to plunge a dagger into the breast;   to plunge a nation into war
    the city was plunged into darkness
  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
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      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: [] .
    • 1989, David Gale, The Theory of Linear Economic Models:
      Before asking the reader to plunge into the subject of linear models I shall, in accordance with a sensible custom, attempt in the few pages which follow to give some idea of what this subject is.
  6. (intransitive) To pitch or throw oneself headlong or violently forward, as a horse does.
    • 1654, Joseph Hall, Select Thoughts, or Choice Helps for a Pious Spirit
      some wild colt, which [] flings and plunges
  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, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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
  6. (obsolete) an immersion in difficulty, embarrassment, or distress; the condition of being surrounded or overwhelmed; a strait; difficulty