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From Middle English plungen, ploungen, Anglo-Norman plungier, from Old French plongier, (Modern French plonger), from unattested Late Latin frequentative 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
  3. (transitive, figuratively) This term needs a definition. Please help out and add a definition, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To baptize by immersion.
  5. (intransitive) To dive, leap or rush (into water or some liquid); to submerge oneself.
    he plunged into the river
  6. (figuratively, intransitive) To fall or rush headlong into some thing, action, state or condition.
    to plunge into debt;   to plunge into controversy
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      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.
  7. (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
  8. (intransitive, slang) To bet heavily and recklessly; to risk large sums in gambling.
  9. (intransitive, obsolete) To entangle or embarrass (mostly used in past participle).
  10. (intransitive, obsolete) To overwhelm, overpower.
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