stanch

verb
\ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce stanch (audio) , ˈstänch, ˈstanch \
variants: or \ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (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

stanch

adjective
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stanch

Verb

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?

Verb

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 By aggressively absorbing light in the areas surrounding the colorful bits, the superblacks stanch the sort of visual cues the female might use to judge the relative brightness of the ambient light. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Ultra-Black Is the New Black," 11 Nov. 2019 Whenever Giulianotti wanted to cut something, the robot first measured the tissue’s impedance—or resistance to an electrical current—and, thus, the extent to which blood had been stanched. D. T. Max, The New Yorker, "Paging Dr. Robot," 23 Sep. 2019 On the face of it, H2O Fund Management’s speed in reducing its exposure to illiquid securities should stanch the outflows that saw more than 5.6 billion euros ($6.4 billion) exit in just four days. Washington Post, "After H2O, Three Red Flags for Investors," 26 June 2019 In 2018, Congress passed another tracking law, this time to try to stanch the flow of fentanyl coursing through the mail. Anchorage Daily News, "How fentanyl flowed through the U.S. Postal Service and across the southern border," 25 Aug. 2019 Doing so would stymie protestors’ organizational efforts and could stanch the flow of information from the region. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Hong Kong protestors are once again using mesh networks to preempt an internet shutdown," 3 Sep. 2019 Earlier this month, Fed chief Powell, referring to the widening trade war, used similar language in a speech, stanching a stock sell-off and propelling markets higher. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Are interest rates going down? Trade war, stock market, vulnerable economy may press Fed," 17 June 2019 Foltz pulled Alford behind a nearby rock, stanched his bleeding, and then took over his friend’s weapon. Matt Viser, BostonGlobe.com, "As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story," 29 Aug. 2019 Foltz pulled Alford behind a nearby rock, stanched his bleeding and then took over his friend's weapon. Author: Matt Viser, Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story," 29 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of stanch

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stanch

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stanch

Time Traveler for stanch

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about stanch

Statistics for stanch

Last Updated

19 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Stanch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stanch?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=s&file=staunc01. Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stanch

stanch

verb
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 staunch (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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stanch

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!