staunch

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

Definition of staunch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

staunch

verb
\ 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

Adjective

staunchly adverb
staunchness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for staunch

Adjective

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 Among the senators on the panels are two of Trump's staunch allies who led the effort to overturn Biden's election victory — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Lisa Mascaro, Star Tribune, "Takeaways from Congress' first hearing on Capitol riot," 23 Feb. 2021 The legislation passed with the support of over two-thirds of House lawmakers, despite staunch opposition from Democrats. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "South Carolina House passes fetal heartbeat abortion ban," 17 Feb. 2021 Monday morning was China’s staunch opposition to U.S. attempts to isolate China or limit its rise. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Biden’s Opening Salvo on Beijing," 25 Jan. 2021 Sasse has been far more willing to criticize Trump than most of his GOP colleagues, but even so, his staunch opposition highlights the nearly certain futility of the president’s efforts to hang onto power. Author: Rosalind S. Helderman, John Wagner, Anchorage Daily News, "Pence asks judge to reject lawsuit seeking to empower him to overturn election," 1 Jan. 2021 His refusal stemmed from a desire to raise individual financial aid from $600 to $2000, something that Democratic representatives have been fighting for against staunch opposition Republican opposition. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "The “darkest days” of COVID-19 are still to come," 28 Dec. 2020 Critics have condemned the president's continued use of executions, considering the incoming administration's staunch opposition to the death penalty. Paulina Smolinski, CBS News, "Advocates are fighting to stop the federal execution of Brandon Bernard, the ninth of this year," 10 Dec. 2020 These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren't a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood. Star Tribune, "What to do with the nice-guy Trump voter next door," 8 Feb. 2021 RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, a staunch supporter of the former president, acknowledged that the party had to stay out of the next presidential primary in an interview with the Associated Press, regardless of who decides to run. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "GOP to stay neutral in 2024 primary even if Trump runs again, RNC chairwoman says," 28 Jan. 2021

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

Adjective

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

History and Etymology for staunch

Adjective

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

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Staunch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/staunch. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for staunch

staunch

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of staunch

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

staunch

adjective
\ 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

staunch

Medical Definition of staunch

variant of stanch

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Comments on staunch

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