\ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch\
variants: or less commonly \ˈstȯnch, ˈstänch, ˈstanch \

Definition of staunch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : steadfast in loyalty or principle a staunch friend

2a : watertight, sound

b : strongly built : substantial


\ˈstȯnch, 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


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

So says Barton Smith, a mechanical and aerospace engineer (and staunch baseball fan) at Utah State University. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physics can explain the fastball’s unexpected twist, new study finds," 23 Nov. 2018 When put into real-life practice, the phrase can do remarkable things to change even the staunchest winter curmudgeon’s mood. Vogue, "Day 12: Embrace the Cold," 12 Nov. 2018 The result: these 11 SELF Fitness Awards 2018 winners, all released in October 2017 or later, that would convert even the staunchest hygge enthusiast to snow sport aficionado. Leta Shy, SELF, "The Best Skiing and Snowboarding Gear of 2018," 12 Nov. 2018 Our identities are not always clear cut and staunch, and other times a lesbian might just see a good looking man and appreciate him. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Ruby Rose Responds to Trolls Who Think She, as a Lesbian, Can't "Appreciate" Men," 19 Oct. 2018 From the very first episode, Jessie proved herself as a smart, staunch feminist who called out unfair societal norms and was quick to confront her ridiculous (and often chauvinistic) boyfriend, AC Slater. Samantha Barry, Glamour, "Fall TV Is Finally Giving Me the Female Leads I've Always Wanted," 14 Sep. 2018 The third and second presidents had been close friends and staunch political rivals. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "John McCain Died Nine Years to the Day After His Close Friend Ted Kennedy," 27 Aug. 2018 Riyadh has courted its US alliance since 1945, and since then has viewed Washington as a staunch economic and military supporter. Alex Ward, Vox, "Turkey’s unrelenting pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, explained.," 24 Oct. 2018 But for all of the criticism Nike and Kaepernick have received, there are also staunch supporters of the social stand both are taking. Lynsey Eidell, Glamour, "Black-ish Star Jennifer Lewis Wears Nike to the 2018 Emmys to Support Colin Kaepernick," 17 Sep. 2018

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

Statistics for staunch

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for staunch

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

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More Definitions for staunch


\ˈstȯnch, 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with staunch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for staunch

Spanish Central: Translation of staunch

Nglish: Translation of staunch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of staunch for Arabic Speakers

Comments on staunch

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to enclose within walls

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