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
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
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.
Recent Examples of staunch from the Web
No independent poll puts Barletta within striking distance of Casey, although Barletta is a staunch supporter of President Trump and Republican officials expect Trump will come to Pennsylvania to campaign for Barletta.
Brown, a staunch supporter of the twin tunnels, phoned MWD board members before the April 10 meeting, urging them to vote yes.
King Push has been a staunch supporter of prison reform and uses his artistic platform to speak on political and social issues in hopes to spark activism.
Along with her neighbors in the tough hillside neighborhood of Sánchez Taboada, Emma García was for years a staunch supporter of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
For years, the staunchest opponent of online gaming has, in fact, been one of the nation’s most successful gambling moguls, Sheldon Adelson.
The move by the EPA is the latest in a series of battles between the federal government and California, which has emerged as the staunchest opponent to the Trump administration’s policies.
Palin — a staunch supporter of the military whose 29-year-old son, Track, served in the army — responded to Ruddick's Twitter statement in a Facebook post.
In the last year of his life, Bourdain was a staunch supporter of Argento and one of #MeToo’s most outspoken male champions.
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.
Synonym Discussion of staunch
- faithful to her promise
- remained loyal to the czar
- constant friends
- a staunch defender of free speech
- steadfast in their support
- a resolute ally
STAUNCH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of staunch for English Language Learners
: very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause
STAUNCH Defined for Kids
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