\ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch, ˈstanch\
variants: or \ˈstȯnch, 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, ˈstänch, ˈstanch\

less common spelling of

1 : steadfast in loyalty or principle a staunch friend

2a : watertight, sound

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

To stanch losses, AB InBev has snapped up craft beer brands in the U.S. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "AB InBev Slashes Dividend as Beer Remains Out of Favor," 25 Oct. 2018 With Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list, the team called up Ferguson to stanch the bleeding. Andy Mccullough,, "Matt Kemp's offensive showing not enough in 11-9 Dodgers' loss to the Pirates," 7 June 2018 In the case of NAFTA, the president has tried to inject his demands for a border wall and stanching immigration flows into the debate. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump is running out of time on NAFTA," 11 May 2018 Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner are planning to continue their divorce privately, attorneys confirmed, moving quickly to stanch rumors of reconciliation after the couple withdrew their case from court. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: These Trump nominees couldn’t get confirmed by the GOP Senate, but they’re still in government," 11 Jan. 2018 Cellphone video shows him splayed on the ground covered in blood as neighbors try to stanch the bleeding with what appears to be napkins. Fox News, "NYPD cops probed for not helping slain Bronx teen, report says," 28 June 2018 With gashes in her jugular vein and trachea bleeding profusely, Kidik showed Jacqueline Marciano, the building’s assistant property manager, how to apply pressure to her wounds to stanch the flowing blood. Alison Kuznitz,, "'I Had Her Life In My Hands': Spectra Employees Recall Aiding Hartford Officer After Stabbing," 23 June 2018 Buzz60 Sears Holdings may sell its Kenmore brand and other assets as the company seeks to raise money to stanch its steady stream of losses. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Sears may sell Kenmore brand, other assets after CEO, investor Eddie Lampert pitches deal," 14 May 2018 In an effort to stanch deposit declines, lenders are offering new customers one-time payments of hundreds of dollars to open accounts. Rachel Louise Ensign, WSJ, "These Bank Customers Are Making a Bundle on Their Deposits," 22 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near stanch

stamp tax






stanchion gun

Statistics for stanch

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for stanch

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

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More Definitions for stanch



English Language Learners Definition of stanch

: to stop something (especially blood) from flowing

variants: also staunch \ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on stanch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stanch

Spanish Central: Translation of stanch

Nglish: Translation of stanch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stanch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stanch

Comments on stanch

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living or existing for a long time

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