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sink (one's) teeth into (something)

To start doing or become involved in something with one's utmost energy, determination, or enthusiasm. I'm always looking for a great book to sink my teeth into. I'd like you to sink your teeth into this new project I'm developing.
See also: sink, teeth

heart sinks

(One) feels disappointed or disheartened. My heart sank when I saw that the meal I'd spent all day preparing had burned in the oven.
See also: heart, sink

sink so low

To lower one's ethical standards (or perceived standards) by behaving in a malignant, self-centered, or despicable manner. In the wake of these vicious attacks, it's horrible to think that our fellow citizens could sink so low in the name of patriotism. I knew John wasn't the most philanthropic guy around, but I never expected him to sink so low.
See also: low, sink

sink (one's) differences

Of multiple people or groups of people, to forget about or put aside the things that one argues about, disagrees with, or dislikes about the other side, usually in order to achieve a common goal. It's really remarkable to see the two factions sink their differences in the name of reclaiming their country as a sovereign state. We'll need to sink our differences if we hope to establish peace in the region.
See also: difference, sink

(one's) heart sinks into (one's) boots

One becomes suddenly disappointed, disheartened, or despondent due to an undesirable outcome or turn of events. His heart sank into his boots when he realized that she wasn't going to accept his marriage proposal. It's horrible having to deny people entry visas and watch their hearts sink into their boots, but it's just a part of the job.
See also: boot, heart, sink

sink in

1. To penetrate, absorb, or soak in (to something). It takes a few hours for the mixture to sink in. If the water sinks in, it could cause your floorboards to warp or even rot.
2. By extension, to become understood; to make a lasting impression or memory. The gravity of what happened in this field 200 years ago didn't sink in until we saw actors recreating the war as it would have been fought. No matter how many times I go over it, this equation just isn't sinking in.
See also: sink

sink into

1. To penetrate, absorb, or soak into something. If the water sinks into the floorboards, it could warping or even rot. It takes a few hours for the mixture to sink into the skin.
2. To enter into some passive, non-functional state. Within seconds I had sunk into a deep, dreamless sleep. After staring at the swinging watch, she sank into a hypnotic trance.
3. To force, press, or impale something into someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "sink" and "into." He sank the blade into the body of his enemy. The farmer sank the stakes of the fence into the ground with several swings of her sledgehammer.
4. To expend time, money, or other resources into someone or something as an investment, especially when those resources were or seem to have been squandered. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sink" and "into." By the time the product was finally released onto the market, there was simply no way for the company to earn back what they had sunk into it. We sank a lot of hours into creating this program—if it doesn't work, I'm going to be very disappointed. The company sank so much money into me, between the training courses and masters degrees they paid for, that I feel guilty quitting.
See also: sink

sink through the floor

1. To wilt, wince, or cower from extreme embarrassment. When the teacher accused me of cheating on the test, I thought I would sink through the floor. I accidentally let out a very audible fart as I bent over, and I got back to my desk as soon as I could so I could sink through the floor.
2. To suffer a feeling of extreme dejection, disappointment, or sadness. Usually said of one's heart. My heart sank through the floor when I saw Joe walking hand-in-hand with Melissa. Our hearts started sinking through the floor the moment the doctor came into the waiting room with such a serious expression on her face.
See also: floor, sink, through

sink back into (something)

1. To lean or recline backward into some piece of furniture. She remembered that she hadn't taken the garbage out just as she was sinking back into bed. He anxiously sank back into his chair as the interviewer's questions became more personal.
2. To return to some previous cognitive state. I stared about the room nervously after being woken by the loud bang, but eventually sank back into sleep once it was clear that everything was OK. I can feel myself sinking back into depression again lately.
See also: back, sink

sink below (something)

1. Literally, to go beneath the surface of water or some other liquid. The storm punched a hole in the hull of the vessel, causing it to sink below the waves. You might expect such a heavy object to sink below the surface of any liquid, but because it is less dense than mercury, it actually floats on top of it.
2. To move or appear to move beneath or behind some object or boundary. We sat watching the sun sink below the horizon. The child sank below the table to avoid having to talk to the people his parents had invited for dinner.
3. To reach or go to a level or degree beneath some point or threshold. Temperatures are expected to sink below freezing tonight, so beware of icy roads in the morning. We can't let the power output sink below 500 kilowatts.
See also: below, sink

sink down

1. To fall or lower (oneself), as due to exhaustion, weakness, despair, etc. I came in the door and sank down onto the sofa, totally wiped from such a long day at work. I sank down to the floor and cried when I heard the news that Michael had died.
2. To move or appear to move to a lower position or location. We sat watching the stars begin to appear as the sun sank down in the sky. I sank down in my chair, trying to tune out the sound of my parents arguing.
See also: down, sink

sink into despair

To enter into a state of utter hopelessness, helplessness, and depression. I sank into despair when I was told I hadn't gotten the job. We can't sink into despair just because our sales figures weren't what we were hoping for—we've got to pick ourselves up and do what is necessary to get back on track!
See also: despair, sink

sink into depression

1. To enter into a cognitive state characterized by an inability to experience pleasure as well as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and despondency; to become clinically depressed. Despite how many things were going well for me, I could feel myself sinking into depression again. She closed herself off from her friends and family, and the isolation caused her to sink further into her depression.
2. To enter into a period of drastic economic decline, widespread poverty, and high unemployment. Eventually the entire subprime mortgage market collapsed, causing economies around the world to sink into depression. The small country sank into depression shortly after gaining its independence.
See also: depression, sink

sink into oblivion

1. To become lost to obscurity; to not be known or remembered by anyone. The poet sank into oblivion after the war, only coming back into public awareness after an archive of his works was discovered in the basement of an abandoned warehouse in East Germany. He held a rather cynical view of parenthood, believing that people only had children to avoid sinking into oblivion.
2. To enter into total unconsciousness. The last thing I remember was the doctor asking me to count to ten before the general anesthetic took effect and I sank into oblivion. He was so utterly exhausted that he sank into oblivion the moment my head hit the pillow.
See also: oblivion, sink

sink to (something)

1. To fall, descend, or collapse to some lower point or level. The boat was struck with another torpedo, and it sank to the bottom of the sea. They've run out of fuel, but so long as they don't encounter any strong winds, their hot air balloon should sink safely to the ground. I sank to the floor in shock when they told me that Michael had been killed.
2. To appear to move to some lower point or level. We sat watching the stars beginning to appear as the sun sank to the horizon.
3. To move or shift to some lower measurement or degree. The temperatures are supposed to sink to -10 degrees tonight! The power station's output sank to just over 200 megawatts.
4. To engage in some negative action or behavior that one or others believe is below a certain standard of dignity, principles, or integrity. Don't sink to his juvenile taunts. Just ignore him. I can't believe he would sink to spreading lies about me like that. I lost faith in the news site when they sank to posting vacuous, clickbait-driven articles.
See also: sink

sink under (something)

1. To fall or submerge beneath some surface. The boat was struck with another torpedo, and it sank under the waves. The frozen lake became unstable, and the man sank under the ice.
2. To fall, descend, or collapse due to some downward pressure or force. The entire roof sank under the strain placed on it by the accumulating snowfall. The hot air balloon began to sink under the weight of so many people.
See also: sink

sink down

to sink or submerge. The sun sank down and darkness spread across the land. She sat in the chair and sank down, enjoying her moment of relaxation.
See also: down, sink

sink in

1. Lit. to sink, submerge, or descend into something. How long will it take the water to sink in? It might take days for the oil to sink in, so you have time to clean it up.
2. Fig. [for knowledge] to be understood. I heard what you said, but it took a while for it to sink in. I pay careful attention to everything I hear in calculus class, but it usually doesn't sink in.
See also: sink

sink into despair

to become depressed; to become completely discouraged. After facing the hopelessness of the future, Jean Paul sank into despair. Mary sank into despair upon learning of the death of her grandmother.
See also: despair, sink

sink into oblivion

Fig. to fade into obscurity. She may be famous now, but in no time she will sink into oblivion. In his final years, Wally Wilson sank into oblivion and just faded away.
See also: oblivion, sink

sink something in (to) someone or something

 and sink something in 
1. Lit. to drive or push something into someone or something. The brave hero sank the wooden stake into the vampire. The hero sank in the stake.
2. Fig. to invest time or money in someone or something. (Sometimes implying that it was wasted.) You would not believe how much money I've sunk into that company! She sank in a lot of money, but it was all wasted.
See also: sink

sink in

Penetrate the mind, be absorbed, as in The news of the crash didn't sink in right away. [Late 1300s]
See also: sink

sink through the floor

Suffer extreme embarrassment, as in When she called our name on the list of those who owed dues, I sank through the floor. This hyperbolic term dates from the early 1900s.
See also: floor, sink, through

ˌsink so ˈlow


sink to something

have such low moral standards that you do something very bad: Stealing from your friends? How could you sink so low?I can’t believe that anyone would sink to such depths.
See also: low, sink

sink in

1. To seep or soak; penetrate: When the floodwaters sink in, the ground will become soft.
2. To make an impression; become felt or understood: The meaning of the poem finally sank in after I had thought about it for a while.
See also: sink

sink into

1. To pass into some condition: She sank into a deep sleep.
2. To seep or soak into something; penetrate something: The water is sinking into the ground.
3. To invest some resources in something, especially without any prospect of return: If the city continues to sink money into that new convention center, it will go broke.
See also: sink
References in periodicals archive ?
"Within half an hour, the vessel had sunk further into the sea, and at 4.20pm she sank completely into the 50m-deep waters."
Lee Ki Shik said it is hard to pinpoint why the warship sank.
2 : to fall or drop to a lower level She sank to her knees.
Around six hours later the Honeydew II sank off Mine Head with the loss of Skipper Ger Bohan, 39, and 30-year-old crewman Tomasz Jagla.
With the United States in the war, German subs were diverted to the Atlantic seaboard where they sank 500 ships in six months.
The three men on board the Holyhead boat, who were aged between 40 and 55, managed to jump to a life raft before the boat sank.
The Swedish scientists sank one whale in water shallow enough for divers to reach.
Six days later, Prestige split in two and sank 3,500 meters (1.5 mi) to the bottom of the Atlantic.
For comparison, in Britain during the period 1979/88 some 16 shafts were sunk, while German shaft construction companies sank some 200 vertical shafts worldwide over the period from 1945 to 1990.
In 2001 an industrial fishing trawler went down in the Arctic and sank so quickly there was no time for the crew to even call for help.
INVESTIGATORS are to look at the possibility that a submarine collided with a boat that sank earlier this week.
All three crewmen were rescued by helicopter when the Karianda sank off Stonehaven, near Aberdeen in August .
One of the worst was in 1989 when the giant Komsomolets sank in the Norwegian sea, killing 42.
Eighty-six years after the RMS Titanic scraped against an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, researchers are still trying to unravel the mystery of what happened on that fateful night.