1

stanch

verb \ ˈstȯnch , ˈstänch , ˈstanch \
variants: or play \ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch\
Updated on: 10 Apr 2018

Definition of stanch

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

stancher

noun

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Recent Examples of stanch from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of stanch

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

2

stanch

adjective \ ˈstȯnch , ˈstänch , ˈstanch \

less common spelling of

1 a : watertight, sound
b : strongly built : substantial
2 : steadfast in loyalty or principle
  • a staunch friend

STANCH Defined for English Language Learners

stanch

Definition of stanch for English Language Learners

  • : to stop something (especially blood) from flowing


Medical Dictionary

stanch

transitive verb
variants: also staunch play \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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