\ 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

Before this week, Dominic Raab was best known for two things: his staunch support of Brexit and his spat with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Raab will replace mentor David Davis as Brexit secretary this week. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Meet Britain’s new ‘Brexit secretary,’ a man Theresa May once accused of fueling ‘gender warfare’," 10 July 2018 Sanford is the second incumbent House Republican to lose a primary this year, though the defeat of Rep. Robert Pittenger in North Carolina came despite his staunch support for the president. Lisa Mascaro And Meg Kinnard,, "'Trump enough?': Primary election lesson for Republicans: Don't cross the president," 13 June 2018 In addition to his staunch support of Argento and other Weinstein accusers, Bourdain repeatedly called out men who were critical of #MeToo, from Alec Baldwin to James Corden. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Anthony Bourdain Spoke Out Where Other Men Wouldn’t," 8 June 2018 Trump was elected on a platform of staunch support for the 2nd Amendment, even as mass shootings increased in frequency and lethality. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "No guns but plenty of protesters expected when Trump addresses NRA convention," 30 Apr. 2018 The retired Harvard law professor, whose decades-long career made him one of the nation’s most recognizable liberal advocates, is now playing a surprising role: one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest defenders. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?," 23 Apr. 2018 Now in Louisiana a proposal to put the question of reforming the law before voters has cleared the state Senate and is pending in the House; and in Oregon prosecutors, the law’s staunchest defenders, are talking about supporting a change. The Economist, "The racist origin of state laws on juries is encouraging change," 19 Apr. 2018 The president is obviously loyal to Arpaio for the sheriff’s staunch support in 2016, inviting speculation of an endorsement. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, "Will Sheriff Joe Be the Next Roy Moore?," 11 Jan. 2018 Pompeo’s comments came during a short trip to the United Arab Emirates, a staunch U.S. ally that hosts some 5,000 American forces at a crucial air base and the U.S. Navy’s busiest foreign port of call. Matthew Lee, The Seattle Times, "Pompeo talks tough on Iran while visiting the Emirates," 10 July 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

14 Sep 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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Comments on staunch

What made you want to look up staunch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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