staunch

adjective
\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

staunch

verb
\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

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

Although Justice Kennedy sometimes selected law clerks with more centrist leanings, both Judge Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch impressed fellow clerks with their staunch conservatism. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Executive Overreach," 11 July 2018 Another former stay-at home daughter, Ashley Easter, was once one of the staunchest supporters of the movement. Sarah Stankorb, Marie Claire, "The Daughters' Great Escape," 15 June 2018 The two fitness gadget companies were previously staunch competitors and had sued one another multiple times. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Struggling Fitbit now has 5 ex-employees who face criminal charges," 15 June 2018 Less than an hour ago right behind me, President Trump fulfilled a campaign pledge and nominated a staunch Conservative to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court of the United States. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on why Trump appointed Judge Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 Some staunch conservatives argue driving could lead women to behave sinfully and expose them to harassment. Margherita Stancati And Donna Abdulaziz, WSJ, "Saudi Women Take the Wheel as Driving Ban Is Lifted," 23 June 2018 The veteran lawmaker and staunch conservative has comfortably won reelection with more than 60 percent of the vote in recent years. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Winning Democrat faces huge climb to unseat Tom McClintock in Congress," 6 June 2018 What’s more surprising is that Star Trek also appeals to staunch conservatives like US senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "Is It Weird for Conservatives to Like ‘Star Trek’?," 19 May 2018 So as a staunch conservative turned Trumpian maximalist, Pence is the natural successor to the 45th president as leader of the GOP, right? Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Actually, Pence’s Toadying Is His Best Shot at Becoming President," 17 May 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

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

Statistics for staunch

Last Updated

9 Nov 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

staunch

adjective
\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

staunch

Medical Definition of staunch 

variant of stanch

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Comments on staunch

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