< /ˈprɛn tɪs/, 1816–94, U.S. army officer and politician: Speaker of the House 1856–57.
- a long pile or heap; mass: a bank of earth; a bank of clouds.
- a slope or acclivity.
- Physical Geography. the slope immediately bordering a stream course along which the water normally runs.
- a broad elevation of the sea floor around which the water is relatively shallow but not a hazard to surface navigation.
- Coal Mining. the surface around the mouth of a shaft.
- Also called cant, superelevation. the inclination of the bed of a banked road or railroad.
- Aeronautics. the lateral inclination of an aircraft, especially during a turn.
- Billiards, Pool. the cushion of the table.
verb (used with object)
- to border with or like a bank; embank: banking the river with sandbags at flood stage.
- to form into a bank or heap (usually followed by up): to bank up the snow.
- to build (a road or railroad track) with an upward slope from the inner edge to the outer edge at a curve.
- Aeronautics. to tip or incline (an airplane) laterally.
- Billiards, Pool.
- to drive (a ball) to the cushion.
- to pocket (the object ball) by driving it against the bank.
- to cover (a fire) with ashes or fuel to make it burn long and slowly.
verb (used without object)
- to build up in or form banks, as clouds or snow.
- Aeronautics. to tip or incline an airplane laterally.
- Horology. (of a lever or balance) to be halted at either end of its oscillation by striking a pin or the like.
- (of a road or railroad track) to slope upward from the inner edge to the outer edge at a curve.
- an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging, and safeguarding money and, in some cases, issuing notes and transacting other financial business.
- the office or quarters of such an institution.
- the stock or fund of pieces from which the players draw.
- the fund of the manager or the dealer.
- a special storage place: a blood bank; a sperm bank.
- a store or reserve.
- a sum of money, especially as a fund for use in business.
- a moneychanger’s table, counter, or shop.
verb (used without object)
- to keep money in or have an account with a bank: Do you bank at the Village Savings Bank?
- to exercise the functions of a bank or banker.
- Games. to hold the bank.
verb (used with object)
- to deposit in a bank: to bank one’s paycheck.
- bank on/upon, to count on; depend on: You can bank on him to hand you a reasonable bill for his services.
- an arrangement of objects in a line or in tiers: a bank of seats; a bank of lights.
- Music. a row of keys on an organ.
- a row of elevator cars, as in a hotel or high-rise office building.
- a bench for rowers in a galley.
- a row or tier of oars.
- the group of rowers occupying one bench or rowing one oar.
- (formerly) a bench on which sheets are placed as printed.
- Also called, especially British, random.the sloping work surface at the top of a compositor’s workbench.
- a table or rack on which type material is stored before being made up in forms.
- Also called deck. Journalism. a part of a headline containing one or more lines of type, especially a part that appears below the main part.
- Electricity. a number of similar devices connected to act together: a bank of transformers; a bank of resistors.
verb (used with object)
- to arrange in a bank: to bank the seats; to bank the lights.
- Iain (Menzies). 1954–2013, Scottish novelist and science fiction writer. His novels include The Wasp Factory (1984), The Crow Road (1992), and The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007); science-fiction (under the name Iain M. Banks) includes Look to Windward (2000)
- Sir Joseph . 1743–1820, British botanist and explorer: circumnavigated the world with James Cook (1768–71)
- an institution offering certain financial services, such as the safekeeping of money, conversion of domestic into and from foreign currencies, lending of money at interest, and acceptance of bills of exchange
- the building used by such an institution
- a small container used at home for keeping money
- the funds held by a gaming house or a banker or dealer in some gambling games
- (in various games)
- the stock, as of money, pieces, tokens, etc, on which players may draw
- the player holding this stock
- any supply, store, or reserve, for future usea data bank; a blood bank
- (tr) to deposit (cash, cheques, etc) in a bank
- (intr) to transact business with a bank
- (intr) to engage in the business of banking
- (intr) to hold the bank in some gambling games
- a long raised mass, esp of earth; mound; ridge
- a slope, as of a hill
- the sloping side of any hollow in the ground, esp when bordering a riverthe left bank of a river is on a spectator’s left looking downstream
- an elevated section, rising to near the surface, of the bed of a sea, lake, or river
- (in combination)sandbank; mudbank
- the area around the mouth of the shaft of a mine
- the face of a body of ore
- the lateral inclination of an aircraft about its longitudinal axis during a turn
- Also called: banking, camber, cant, superelevation a bend on a road or on a railway, athletics, cycling, or other track having the outside built higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force on vehicles, runners, etc, rounding it at speed and in some cases to facilitate drainage
- the cushion of a billiard table
- (when tr, often foll by up) to form into a bank or mound
- (tr) to border or enclose (a road, etc) with a bank
- (tr, sometimes foll by up) to cover (a fire) with ashes, fresh fuel, etc, so that it will burn slowly
- to cause (an aircraft) to tip laterally about its longitudinal axis or (of an aircraft) to tip in this way, esp while turning
- to travel round a bank, esp at high speed
- (tr) billiards to drive (a ball) into the cushion
- an arrangement of objects, esp similar objects, in a row or in tiersa bank of dials
- a tier of oars in a galley
- a bench for the rowers in a galley
- a grade of lightweight writing and printing paper used for airmail letters, etc
- telephony (in automatic switching) an assembly of fixed electrical contacts forming a rigid unit in a selector or similar device
- (tr) to arrange in a bank
“financial institution,” late 15c., from either Old Italian banca or Middle French banque (itself from the Italian word), both meaning “table” (the notion is of the moneylender’s exchange table), from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German bank “bench”); see bank (n.2).
Bank holiday is from 1871, though the tradition is as old as the Bank of England. To cry all the way to the bank was coined 1956 by flamboyant pianist Liberace, after a Madison Square Garden concert that was packed with patrons but panned by critics.
“earthen incline, edge of a river,” c.1200, probably in Old English but not attested in surviving documents, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse banki, Old Danish banke “sandbank,” from Proto-Germanic *bangkon “slope,” cognate with *bankiz “shelf” (see bench (n.)).
“to act as a banker,” 1727, from bank (n.1). As “to deposit in a bank” from 1833. Figurative sense of “to rely on” (i.e. “to put money on”) is from 1884, U.S. colloquial. Meaning “to ascend,” as of an incline, is from 1892. In aeronautics, from 1911. Related: Banked; banking.
- British botanist who took part in Captain James Cook’s voyage around the world (1768-1771), during which he discovered and cataloged many species of plant and animal life.
In addition to the idiom beginning with bank
- bank on
- break the bank
- laugh all the way to the bank