\ 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 trenchesactivists 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 So what allows Kittle to be a terror in the trenches? Eric Branch,, "49ers’ George Kittle, NFL’s most violent blocking TE, can get even better," 18 Jan. 2020 Pittsburgh dealt with a slew of injuries, although, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers remained formidable in the trenches. Tyler Dragon,, "All-AFC North Team: Special teams," 16 Jan. 2020 DL Vernon Broughton, Houston Cypress Ridge Texas needs playmakers in the trenches. Nick Moyle,, "Eight Texas early enrollees, including Hudson Card, who could make an impact in 2020," 16 Jan. 2020 Everyone needs to feel celebrated—even those of us working in the trenches. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "The Vanity Group Launches 'Grit Before The Gram' to Celebrate Black Women Behind the Music," 15 Jan. 2020 Playing in the trenches comes down to attitude and willpower. cleveland, "2020 NFL Draft: Breaking down the top tackles who could help the Cleveland Browns at pick No. 10 -- Film Review," 8 Jan. 2020 Combine his passing and running abilities with protection in the trenches, and the run-pass option offense could pay off. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh in Quick Lane Bowl: Scouting report, prediction," 26 Dec. 2019 Joining Taylor and Blackstock in the trenches are Tommy Dawkins (15 tackles and a sack), E.J. Scott (6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks) and Caleb Spurlin (26 tackles). Evan Dudley, al, "Position-by-position breakdown for 2019 New Orleans Bowl," 19 Dec. 2019 Tell committed on May 31 and immediately helped fill a void in the trenches. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "U of L football signing day tracker: Purdy flips to Florida State, 23 players sign in 2020 class," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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,, "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,, "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,, "Work starts soon on Oceanside 'quiet zone'," 18 Aug. 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.

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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

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trench.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for trench


How to pronounce trench (audio)

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

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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