plunge / plənj/ • v. 1. [intr.] jump or dive quickly and energetically: our daughters whooped as they plunged into the sea. ∎ fall suddenly and uncontrollably: a car swerved to avoid a bus and plunged into a ravine. ∎ embark impetuously on a speech or course of action: overconfident researchers who plunge ahead. ∎ suffer a rapid decrease in value: their fourth-quarter operating profit plunged 25%. ∎ (of a ship) pitch: the ship plunged through the 20-foot seas. 2. [tr.] push or thrust quickly: he plunged his hands into his pockets. ∎ put (something) in liquid so as to immerse it completely: cover the cucumbers with boiling water and then plunge them into iced water. ∎ (often be plunged into) suddenly bring into a specified condition or state: for a moment the scene was illuminated, then it was plunged back into darkness. ∎ [tr.] sink (a plant or a pot containing a plant) in the ground. • n. an act of jumping or diving into water: we went straight from the sauna to take a cold plunge. ∎ a swift and drastic fall in value or amount: the bank declared a 76% plunge in its profits. PHRASES: take the plunge inf. commit oneself to a course of action about which one is nervous.
PLUNGE (Lith. Plungè ; Rus. Plungyany ), city in W. Lithuania. The 15th-century tombstones in the Jewish cemetery indicate that there was a Jewish settlement in Plunge at that time. In 1847 there were 2,197 Jews living there; 2,502 (55% of the population) are recorded in 1897. Most Jews engaged in commerce with eastern Prussia and the surrounding villages as well as in crafts and agriculture. During the period of Lithuanian independence, Jewish commercial enterprises were repressed and a period of intensified emigration followed. The number of Jewish residents in Plunge decreased to 1,815 (44% of the population) in 1933 and 1,700 in 1939. There were six synagogues and a yeshivah with 50 pupils in the town, as well as a *Tarbut and Yiddish school, a Hebrew secondary school, two libraries, and a Jewish bank. Political and communal organizations of every kind and relief institutions were also active. For a time, the office of mayor was held by a member of the Jewish community. When the Germans entered Plunge on June 25, 1941, they murdered a number of Jewish youths who had participated in its defense. A few weeks later they massacred all the remaining Jews.