Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

trenchant

play
adjective tren·chant \-chənt\

Simple Definition of trenchant

  • : very strong, clear, and effective

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of trenchant

  1. 1 :  keen, sharp

  2. 2 :  vigorously effective and articulate <a trenchant analysis>; also :  caustic <trenchant remarks>

  3. 3a :  sharply perceptive :  penetrating <a trenchant view of current conditions>b :  clear-cut, distinct <the trenchant divisions between right and wrong — Edith Wharton>

trenchantly adverb

Examples of trenchant in a sentence

  1. a writer with a trenchant wit

  2. <even the most trenchant sword could not sever the bonds of loyalty between them>



Did You Know?

The word trenchant comes from the Anglo-French verb trencher, meaning "to cut," and may ultimately derive from the Vulgar Latin trinicare, meaning "to cut in three." Hence, a trenchant sword is one with a keen edge; a trenchant remark is one that cuts deep; and a trenchant observation is one that cuts to the heart of the matter. Relatives of trenchant in English include the noun trench ("a long ditch cut into the ground") and the verb retrench ("to cut down or pare away" or "to cut down expenses").

Origin of trenchant

Middle English trenchaunt, from Anglo-French, present participle of trencher


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with trenchant



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up trenchant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce perplex soothe disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ