trench

noun
\ 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

trench

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for trench

Synonyms: Noun

dike, ditch, fosse (or foss), gutter, sheugh [chiefly Scottish], trough

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Next, dig a shallow six-inch by six-inch trench around the perimeter of the house foundation. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Rid of Termites," 8 Jan. 2019 However, deep trenches in the Pacific Ocean near the islands facilitate the upwelling of significantly cooler water. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Hurricane Lane likely to skirt Hawaiian islands, but flooding probable [Updated]," 22 Aug. 2018 Though the ditches were filled in during subsequent centuries, deep trenches remain beneath the surface of the ground. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018 But no conservation issue in the West today is more polarizing than wolves, where the trenches on each side remain well worn and deep. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 The team reconstructed the king’s house mostly via the post holes and foundation trenches left on Mound Key. National Geographic, "Ancient Native American King's House Rediscovered in Florida," 13 June 2018 Markle completed the casual-chic look with a plaid trench by Karen Walker and a pair of her signature Sarah Flint pumps. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Wore a $60 ASOS Maternity Dress for Her Latest Royal Tour Stop," 28 Oct. 2018 Right past it, a fresh layer of dirt filled what appeared to be a large trench dug by the insurgents for fortification. Albert Aji, Fox News, "Syria revels in recapture of town near Israel-occupied Golan," 27 July 2018 But in late 2015, in the process of clearing a narrow trench for a pipeline, personnel inadvertently unearthed what would prove to be an archaeological treasure trove. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Newly Unearthed Civil War Bones Speak Silently to the Grim Aftermath of Battle," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If the active layer of insulation is disturbed during construction (i.e., trenching), permafrost could be vulnerable to thermokarst and subsidence during the summer due to exposure to higher temperatures. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Army Corps releases final EIS for in-state Alaska gasline," 24 June 2018 Many of Sunoco’s problems are related to its use of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to install large sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which was supposed to avoid the disruptions of conventional open-trenching construction method. Andrew Maykuth, Philly.com, "Sunoco will temporarily relocate residents while it conducts pipeline sinkhole study," 2 Apr. 2018 Still in the plan is the suggestion to trench the downtown railroad tracks. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "More walking, less parking in Carlsbad's latest Village-Barrio plan," 7 Feb. 2018 That idea also is being studied for Carlsbad, where a recent study estimated the cost of trenching at a minimum of $224 million, but with long-term economic benefits in the billions. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Work starts soon on Oceanside 'quiet zone'," 18 Aug. 2017 Gas lines will be relocated starting July 20 and the earth retention contractor will mobilize on the site and begin trenching the week of July 24. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale Middle School construction costs raise questions of village's share for parking deck," 17 July 2017 Over the years, human remains have been found nearby, most recently those of five individuals uncovered during trenching work last year on another project immediately across Fourth Street. Tom Lochner, The Mercury News, "Berkeley Shellmound EIR prompts call for do-over from landmarks commission," 8 Feb. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of trench

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for trench

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trench

Statistics for trench

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trench

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trench

trench

noun

English Language Learners Definition of trench

: a long, narrow hole that is dug in the ground
: a deep, narrow hole in the ground that is used as protection for soldiers
: a long, narrow hole in the ocean floor

trench

noun
\ ˈtrench How to pronounce trench (audio) \

Kids Definition of trench

: a long narrow ditch

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on trench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trench

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trench

Spanish Central: Translation of trench

Nglish: Translation of trench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trench for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about trench

Comments on trench

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!