\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

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 And there’s Montgomery going 4-for-4 in June – four games, four quality starts, an ERA of 1.50 from a pitcher whose growth seemed stanched by managerial or front-office decisions mirroring Almora Jr.’s path. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Cubs had better find a regular spot in the rotation for Mike Montgomery," 20 June 2018 Trump and his advisers were unable to stanch the wellspring of public opposition. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump defiant as crisis grows over family separation at the border," 19 June 2018 New evidence indicates that the Y chromosome participates in an array of essential, general-interest tasks in men, like stanching cancerous growth, keeping arteries clear and blocking the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Secrets of the Y Chromosome," 11 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

10 Sep 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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Comments on stanch

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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