\ 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

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Synonyms for trench

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Hailey is among the queens of comfort since quarantine started, often getting photographed running errands in easy, accessible pieces like leggings, sweatsuits, puffer vests, trench coats, bike shorts, and hoodies. Glamour, "Hailey Bieber Proves the Perfect Quarantine Outfit Does Exist," 31 Jan. 2021 This week, our favorite fashion pages aren’t taking winter lightly, brighting up our timeline with chic steals including beanies, trench coats, and Pima cotton finds. Nandi Howard And Danielle Wright, Essence, "The Best Dressed Black Creatives On Instagram This Week," 29 Jan. 2021 The 79-year-old lawmaker donned his signature utilitarian Burton jacket amid a sea of bespoke trench coats. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, "Casual Bernie Sanders goes viral as the inauguration’s unexpected meme," 20 Jan. 2021 The rock layers exposed in the trench date back more than 100 million years, to when England lay submerged beneath a warm, shallow sea. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, "We Broke Phosphorus," 8 Feb. 2021 Two, its leather fabrication also feels fresh—a sleek update on the cotton or canvas trench. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Take Notes on Irina Shayk’s Power Coat," 27 Jan. 2021 The winner of the trench battles with the likes of Chiefs LT Eric Fisher and C Austin Reiter will be impactful. Barry Wilner, ajc, "Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game," 22 Jan. 2021 The winner of the trench battles with the likes of Chiefs LT Eric Fisher and C Austin Reiter will be impactful. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game," 22 Jan. 2021 Dig a trench 1 foot deep and place a portion of a seed potato every 18 inches. Calvin Finch,, "A guide to the small trees you should plant in your San Antonio garden: Mexican plum, Texas redbud, desert willow, Mexican olive," 22 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Exhausted firefighters sing together after a 14-hour shift battling wildfires in Oregon," 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., "Naperville News Digest: Riverway Trail closures planned, outdoor movies at Naper Settlement, Ribfest donors get special face masks," 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, "Which potato salad will show up at your picnic? There's a world of variations," 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, "'Dolittle': Why Robert Downey Jr. dares to talk to the animals ... with a Welsh accent," 15 Jan. 2020 And yet, canonically speaking, there are still multiple Death Star trenches. James Hibberd,, "1977 Star Wars scene changed in one key way during filming," 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, "Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands?," 18 Oct. 2019 The estimated cost of trenching the railroad tracks is $441 million. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Sky Harbor Airport's $5.7 billion, 20-year plan: Double the capacity, add 'bus gates'," 7 Jan. 2019 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

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.

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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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Time Traveler for trench

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for trench

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for trench



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


\ ˈtrench How to pronounce trench (audio) \

Kids Definition of trench

: a long narrow ditch

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Comments on trench

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