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

Definition of staunch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : steadfast in loyalty or principle a staunch friend
b : strongly built : substantial


\ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (audio) , ˈstänch \

variant of

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

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Other Words from staunch


staunchly adverb
staunchness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for staunch


faithful, loyal, constant, staunch, steadfast, resolute mean firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance. faithful implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted. faithful to her promise loyal implies a firm resistance to any temptation to desert or betray. remained loyal to the czar constant stresses continuing firmness of emotional attachment without necessarily implying strict obedience to promises or vows. constant friends staunch suggests fortitude and resolution in adherence and imperviousness to influences that would weaken it. a staunch defender of free speech steadfast implies a steady and unwavering course in love, allegiance, or conviction. steadfast in their support resolute implies firm determination to adhere to a cause or purpose. a resolute ally

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 staunch in a Sentence

Adjective She is a staunch advocate of women's rights. He's a staunch believer in the value of regular exercise. I'm one of his staunchest supporters.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective However, when Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department in March 2019, Barr stopped short of promising to release it in full -- and he's faced staunch criticism from Democrats ever since. Libby Cathey, ABC News, "William Barr: Everything you need to know about Trump's controversial attorney general," 13 Feb. 2020 Usually staunch inside the arc, the Bucks looked slow and out of place and the Pacers torched them inside, going 21 of 30 (70%) on two-point shots in the first half. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pacers 118, Bucks 111: Heading into the break after some of the worst basketball of the season," 12 Feb. 2020 The lone male cast member, Carlos Manzano, is a chameleon, disappearing into his roles as a suave radio DJ, a staunch revolutionary, a menacing Trujillo, and the driver who takes the sisters to see their husbands. oregonlive, "At Milagro, ‘En el Tiempo de Las Mariposas’ floats with the spirit and sting of resistance," 11 Feb. 2020 Now, even some of GE's staunchest critics are throwing in the towel and heaping praise on Culp. Matt Egan, CNN, "Longtime GE bear says Larry Culp 'saved' the iconic company," 10 Feb. 2020 Friedman was a staunch free market economist, while Keynes laid a significant amount of theory behind the idea that government spending contributed toward economic growth. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "Economics degree holder AOC confuses Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes," 8 Feb. 2020 This turned him into a staunch lifelong follower of the Evangelical church. Gabrielle Lynch, Quartz Africa, "How Daniel arap Moi became Kenya’s “big man” president," 3 Feb. 2020 But while most of her wealthy friends were Republicans, Ms. Chambers remained a staunch Democrat. Jeff Martin,, "Anne Cox Chambers, wealthy newspaper heiress, dies at 100," 31 Jan. 2020 Instead, the military systems remained staunch rivals, each jealously guarded, even as the U.S. entered the Sputnik era and began launching the satellites into space that would eventually make GPS possible. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "How GPS went from being the tech everyone hated to the tech everyone needs," 24 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'staunch.' 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 staunch


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for staunch


Middle English, from Anglo-French estanche, feminine of estanc, from estancher to stanch — more at stanch entry 1

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Learn More about staunch

Time Traveler for staunch

Time Traveler

The first known use of staunch was in the 15th century

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Statistics for staunch

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Staunch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for staunch


How to pronounce staunch (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of staunch

: very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause


\ ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (audio) , ˈstänch \
stauncher; staunchest

Kids Definition of staunch

1 : strongly built : substantial staunch foundations
2 : loyal, steadfast They were staunch supporters.

Other Words from staunch

staunchly adverb


Medical Definition of staunch

variant of stanch

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More from Merriam-Webster on staunch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for staunch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with staunch

Spanish Central: Translation of staunch

Nglish: Translation of staunch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of staunch for Arabic Speakers

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