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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.
3. To force, press, or impale something into someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sink" and "in." He grabbed his enemy by the neck and sank the blade in. The ground was so soft that the farmer could easily sink in the stakes of the fence.
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 "in." 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 in. When we created this program, we sank a lot of hours in to get it off the ground. If it doesn't work, I'm going to be very disappointed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
sink something in (to) someone or somethingand 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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Penetrate the mind, be absorbed, as in The news of the crash didn't sink in right away. [Late 1300s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.