\ 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

Other Words from stanch


stancher noun

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.

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

Examples of stanch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Bank of Russia has kept the country’s stock market closed for several days in an effort to stanch the flow of money out of its economy, which was already showing signs of severe distress before the new measures were implemented. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2022 It’s half of a sophisticated South African effort to stanch the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, like Omicron, which was identified here and shook the world this past week. Stephanie Nolen, New York Times, 4 Dec. 2021 The new state budget attempts to stanch the bleeding, in part by doling out one-time bonuses to frontline health care workers, including mental health providers. Abigail Kramer, ProPublica, 13 Apr. 2022 But if the Sixers can't stanch the bleeding on the perimeter, Embiid might need to score 40 in every game to give them a chance in a series against the Nets. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2022 Still, no urgent action was taken to stanch the deluge of cancellations that hit April 1. Dominic Gates, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Apr. 2022 Some retailers raised their offerings to stanch the outflow of staff, with Target, Sam’s Club and Under Armour raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour and other retailers offering enhanced benefits such as tuition coverage. NBC News, 4 Feb. 2022 This led to shortages throughout the economy and did nothing to stanch inflation. Judge Glock, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2022 But with strict visitor limits in place to stanch the spread of the virus, staff members — from nurses to the marketing team — filled in for roughly a year. Tamar Hallerman, ajc, 25 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stanch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for stanch


transitive verb
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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