\ ˈtrench How to pronounce trench (audio) \

Definition of trench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a long cut in the ground : ditch especially : one used for military defense often with the excavated dirt thrown up in front
b trenches plural : a place, position, or level at which an activity is carried on in a manner likened to trench warfare often used in the phrase in the trenches activists working in the trenches
2 : a long, narrow, and usually steep-sided depression in the ocean floor — compare trough


trenched; trenching; trenches

Definition of trench (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a cut in : carve
2a : to protect with or as if with a trench
b : to cut a trench in : ditch

intransitive verb

1a : entrench, encroach trenching on other domains which were more vital— Sir Winston Churchill
b : to come close : verge
2 : to dig a trench

Synonyms for trench

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of trench in a Sentence

Noun dug a trench and filled it with water in an attempt to keep the forest fire off her property
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tayiana says the exhibition will include the physical remains of a trench that was dug around the village, as well as the archives and oral histories collected from survivors. Quartz, 26 Sep. 2022 After takeoff, the private, Bohdan Mazhulenko, who goes by the nickname Raccoon, sits casually on the rim of a trench, as green fields pocked with artillery craters scroll by on his tablet. Andrew E. Kramer,, 10 Aug. 2022 North of the trench lies the Cleveland State University campus, Playhouse Square, and the downtown skyline. Steven Litt, cleveland, 15 June 2022 Gilbert's body was discovered north of a trench, about 3/4 of a mile from where she was last seen, Beyrer said. Rich Schapiro, NBC News, 13 May 2022 The present-day parking lot is on the site of that trench. New York Times, 11 May 2022 Half a dozen men hopped out of a trench, their faces covered in mud and their cheeks sunken, and greeted the judge warmly. The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 Take some style inspo for your spring outfits from Hailey Bieber, quite literally the queen of the trench. Ana Escalante, Glamour, 26 Mar. 2022 The project, which started in May, has required digging a trench along, and sometimes through, the westbound lane between the winter gate and the fee station. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For example, the opening look anchored a beige suit and trench with a colossal pink gradient scarf and a bright orange fuzzy clutch. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, 15 Sep. 2022 Although a few big names still remain on the board, the time has come for teams to re-trench, re-assess and figure out if any of the players left can fill some of their needs. J.p. Pelzman, Forbes, 19 Mar. 2021 For those not in the know, a hazel hoe is used to trench and clear the area, while a sawyer is a person trained to down limbs and trees during wildfires. Christina Zdanowicz, CNN, 16 Sep. 2020 In the first part, the park district will trench along the edge of the trail and add a fabric barrier system to ensure tree roots don’t impact the trail, a news release said., 14 Aug. 2020 The institute studied five non-mechanized methods for growing potatoes – trenching, newspaper mulch, potato tower, container bag and straw mulch – and Johnson wrote about the research for Mother Earth News. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 May 2020 The elocution is a vocal step away from the original literary character, Victorian English Doctor John Dolittle, originally concocted by author Hugh Lofting while serving in the World War I trenches with the British army. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 15 Jan. 2020 And yet, canonically speaking, there are still multiple Death Star trenches. James Hibberd,, 21 Nov. 2019 Haphazardly established in the 1960s, the massive garbage pile was never trenched or lined, and no one knows what might be leaking from the dump into the ground. New York Times, 18 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trench.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of trench


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for trench


Middle English trenche track cut through a wood, from Anglo-French, act of cutting, ditch, from trencher, trenchier to cut, probably from Vulgar Latin *trinicare to cut in three, from Latin trini three each — more at trine

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

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Last Updated

29 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Trench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for trench


\ ˈtrench How to pronounce trench (audio) \

Kids Definition of trench

: a long narrow ditch

More from Merriam-Webster on trench

Nglish: Translation of trench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trench for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trench


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