staunch

1 of 2

adjective

ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (audio)
ˈstänch
variants or less commonly stanch
ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (audio)
ˈstänch,
ˈstanch
1
: steadfast in loyalty or principle
a staunch friend
2
b
: strongly built : substantial
staunchly adverb
staunchness noun

staunch

2 of 2

verb

ˈstȯnch How to pronounce staunch (audio)
ˈstänch

variant of stanch entry 1

transitive verb

1
: to check or stop the flowing of
stanched her tears
also : to stop the flow of blood from (a wound)
2
a
: to stop or check in its course
trying to stanch the crime wave
b
: to make watertight : stop up
3
archaic : allay, extinguish

Did you know?

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

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Seeking to drive up turnout among South Carolinians who may not be staunch Republicans, Haley has been asking her rally attendees to press their friends and family who don’t typically vote in presidential primaries to show up to the polls. USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Consisting of some of Congress' staunchest critics of China, the bipartisan delegation was to meet with other senior Taiwanese leaders and members of civil society to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security and trade, among other issues of mutual interest. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 23 Feb. 2024 The heart of the game remains a fictional Massachusetts town where many of the staunchest opponents of the Mythos reside. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 Lindell, a prominent election denier and staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump, claimed to have data showing Chinese interference in the 2020 race. Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2024 Gallagher, a Republican representing Wisconsin, has been a staunch supporter of Taiwan and a strong critic of China during his tenure in Congress. Eric Cheung, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, accepting unlimited numbers of refugees and providing Ukraine with weaponry. Vanessa Gera, Quartz, 21 Feb. 2024 In fact, many staunch Trump critics agree with his central point, that members of the military alliance set up in the wake of World War II to defend against the then-Soviet Union need to up their defense spending. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 12 Feb. 2024 Harris, who did not return multiple requests for comment, is married to Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a staunch supporter of former Republican President Donald Trump. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 1 Feb. 2024
Verb
As Marie falls to the floor, hyperventilating, her father rushes in, trying to staunch his wife's bleeding wound. Alex Raiman, EW.com, 29 Sep. 2023 The Nvidia chief has previously warned that an escalation in US sanctions, designed to staunch the flow of AI training chips to China, could drive local firms to develop their own alternatives. Jane Lanhee Lee, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 His successor, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, has struggled to staunch the violence. Rosa Flores, CNN, 6 Sep. 2023 Either way, someone will need to staunch Peacock’s losses (the streamer is projected to lose $3 billion this year, Kardashians notwithstanding). Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 26 Apr. 2023 The union had agreed to pause some benefits amid the 2008 car manufacturer bailout, in which Chrysler, Ford and GM were issued billions of dollars from the federal government to staunch potential shutdowns and bankruptcy. Curtis Bunn, NBC News, 23 Sep. 2023 Across the country, at least 24 states now have versions of the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, or Crown Act, to staunch long-standing discrimination that Black people in particular have faced in workplace or school settings. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 The highly contagious disease causes blisters on the tongue, lips, and between the hooves of cattle and other livestock, leaving animals debilitated and staunching milk production. Bywarren Cornwall, science.org, 23 May 2023 It's noted that during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, global crude oil prices dropped into the negatives at one point, and American oil companies stopped drilling and laid off thousands of workers to staunch their bleeding profits. Dan Carson, Chron, 9 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'staunch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English staunche, stanch "watertight, solidly made, in good repair," borrowed from Anglo-French estanc, feminine estaunche "stanched (of blood), watertight," derivative of estancher "to stop (blood from flowing), (of a wound) stop bleeding, (of water) be stanched, dry up" — more at stanch entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near staunch

Cite this Entry

“Staunch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/staunch. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

staunch

1 of 2

variant of stanch entry 1

staunch

2 of 2 adjective
variants or stanch
ˈstȯnch,
ˈstänch
1
a
: watertight sense 1, sound
a staunch ship
b
: strongly built : substantial
staunch foundations
2
: steadfast in loyalty or principle
a staunch friend
staunchly adverb

Medical Definition

staunch

variant of stanch

More from Merriam-Webster on staunch

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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