A bunker is an underground shelter, the kind you might build to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. (Be sure to stock up on canned food.)

If you talk about a bunker today, most people assume you mean a shelter that's used during war, like a foxhole, or a safe underground or recessed place. Golfers will think you mean an obstacle on a golf course, a depression that's filled with sand. Another kind of bunker is a compartment that's used to store fuel on large ships — the oil itself is known as bunker fuel. The original fuel bunkers held coal, but today they typically contain oil. Bunker comes from a Scottish word for "bench."

Definitions of bunker
  1. noun
    a fortification of earth; mostly or entirely below ground
    synonyms: dugout
    see moresee less
    fox hole, foxhole
    a small dugout with a pit for individual shelter against enemy fire
    funk hole
    dugout as a place of safe retreat (when in a funk)
    type of:
    fortification, munition
    defensive structure consisting of walls or mounds built around a stronghold to strengthen it
  2. noun
    a large container for storing fuel
    “the ship's bunkers were full of coal”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)
  3. verb
    fill (a ship's bunker) with coal or oil
    see moresee less
    type of:
    provide with a combustible substance that provides energy
  4. verb
    transfer cargo from a ship to a warehouse
    see moresee less
    type of:
    shift, transfer
    move around
  5. noun
    a hazard on a golf course
    synonyms: sand trap, trap
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an obstacle on a golf course
  6. verb
    hit a golf ball into a bunker
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cause to move by striking
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week