\ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce stanch (audio) , ˈstänch, ˈstanch \
variants: or \ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce stanch (audio) , ˈstänch \
stanched or staunched; stanching or staunching; stanches or staunches

Definition of stanch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to check or stop the flowing of stanched her tears also : to stop the flow of blood from (a wound)
2a : to stop or check in its course trying to stanch the crime wave
b : to make watertight : stop up
3 archaic : allay, extinguish


\ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce stanch (audio) , ˈstänch, ˈstanch \

less common spelling of

1 : steadfast in loyalty or principle a staunch friend
b : strongly built : substantial

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Other Words from stanch


stancher noun

Staunch and Stanch

Both stanch and staunch come from the Anglo-French estancher, meaning “to check or stop the flowing of.” Both have been in use for many hundreds of years. And most dictionaries will list them as having the exact same meaning. They are, in fact, variants of each other. But there's a catch: staunch is more commonly used as an adjective (it has several meanings in this role, including “steadfast in loyalty or principle” and "substantial"), and stanch is more commonly used as a verb (common meanings are "to check or stop the flowing of" and "to stop or check in its course"). Here are example of each in typical use:

a staunch supporter/advocate

staunch resistance/allegiance

to stanch the flow/bleeding

stanching the loss of jobs/revenue

Note that saying that something is more commonly used in some way does not necessarily mean that people who choose to use it in the less common way are wrong. There is a considerable body of evidence, from reputable sources, of staunch and stanch being used in their less common roles.

Some people will tell you that you should always keep these words apart, and if you’d like to do this you may find the following sentence of some assistance in helping you to remember the difference: "A staunch friend would help you stanch a bleeding thumb."

Alternatively, you may rely on the time-honored method of people-who-remember-things-poorly and use this limerick:

Tho’ neither stanch nor staunch must conform
To rigid semantical norm
Some editors will blanch,
When encountering stanch
If it’s used in adjective form

Did You Know?


The verb "stanch" has a lot in common with the adjective staunch, meaning "steadfast." Not only do both words derive from the Anglo-French word estancher (which has the same meaning as "stanch"), but the spelling "s-t-a-n-c-h" is sometimes used for the adjective, and the spelling "s-t-a-u-n-c-h" is sometimes used for the verb. Although both spelling variants have been in reputable use for centuries and both are perfectly standard for either the verb or adjective, "stanch" is the form used most often for the verb and "staunch" is the most common variant for the adjective.

Examples of stanch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Aides hoped the latest statement would at least stanch the bleeding within Mr. Trump’s own party. New York Times, "Capitol Attack Leads Democrats to Demand That Trump Leave Office," 7 Jan. 2021 Caputo presided over interventions by H.H.S. that meddled with the C.D.C.’s guidelines—apparently, to get case numbers down and stanch the flow of bad news. Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, "The Plague Year," 28 Dec. 2020 After a year of surging homelessness, Ramsey County will invest nearly $9 million in affordable housing next year in an effort to stanch the flow of people who find themselves on the doorstep of shelters or sleeping outside in tents. Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, "Ramsey County to invest $9 million in affordable housing in 2021," 27 Dec. 2020 Hospitals and nursing homes had strict no-visit rules to help stanch the spread of the disease. Los Angeles Times, "There’s only one way to join this exclusive COVID-19 club," 25 Dec. 2020 The need to stanch the city’s $62 million budget shortfall has complicated an already tense effort to improve policing in Oakland. Rachel Swan,, "Defund the police? Oakland’s budget shortfall could force cuts," 20 Dec. 2020 Still, the clear motivation is to help stanch the cash bleed. Dominic Gates,, "Boeing saves cash by giving 82,000 workers stock, not pay raises," 17 Dec. 2020 She’s been protected since September by a federal moratorium on evictions, ordered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help stanch the deadly spread of the virus. John Simerman,, "New Orleans renters see no relief as end nears for eviction halt, other aid," 13 Dec. 2020 Detroit had one of the most violent summers in recent memory, with so many shootings that the U.S. Department of Justice sent federal agents to help local law enforcement try to stanch the bloodshed. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan pitches unity, opportunity in bid for third term," 9 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stanch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of stanch


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stanch


Middle English staunchen, from Anglo-French estancher, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *stanticare, from Latin stant-, stans, present participle

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Time Traveler for stanch

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The first known use of stanch was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stanch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stanch


How to pronounce stanch (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stanch

: to stop something (especially blood) from flowing
variants: also staunch \ ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch How to pronounce stanch (audio) \

Medical Definition of stanch

: to check or stop the flowing of stanch bleeding also : to stop the flow of blood from stanch a wound

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