noun \ˈtrench\

: a long, narrow hole that is dug in the ground

: a deep, narrow hole in the ground that is used as protection for soldiers

: a long, narrow hole in the ocean floor

Full Definition of TRENCH

a :  a long cut in the ground :  ditch; especially :  one used for military defense often with the excavated dirt thrown up in front
b plural :  a place, position, or level at which an activity is carried on in a manner likened to trench warfare —often used in the phrase in the trenches <activists working in the trenches>
:  a long, narrow, and usually steep-sided depression in the ocean floor — compare trough

Examples of TRENCH

  1. <dug a trench and filled it with water in an attempt to keep the forest fire off her property>

Origin of TRENCH

Middle English trenche track cut through a wood, from Anglo-French, act of cutting, ditch, from trencher, trenchier to cut, probably from Vulgar Latin *trinicare to cut in three, from Latin trini three each — more at trine
First Known Use: 15th century

Related to TRENCH

dike, fosse (or foss), gutter, sheugh [chiefly Scottish], ditch, trough

Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical



Definition of TRENCH

transitive verb
:  to make a cut in :  carve
a :  to protect with or as if with a trench
b :  to cut a trench in :  ditch
intransitive verb
a :  entrench, encroach <trenching on other domains which were more vital — Sir Winston Churchill>
b :  to come close :  verge
:  to dig a trench

First Known Use of TRENCH

15th century
TRENCH Defined for Kids


noun \ˈtrench\

Definition of TRENCH for Kids

:  a long narrow ditch
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears