\ 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 Crews have used concrete to try to smother the batteries and a construction crew is digging a trench to capture any water runoff, Steffes said. Kathleen Foody, Star Tribune, 1 July 2021 As CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports, much of that work focused late on Sunday and into Monday on digging a trench right into the mountain of rubble. CBS News, 28 June 2021 The figure was originally created by people digging a trench through the turf on the hillside and then filling the outline with pounded chalk — a soft, white, porous limestone, like the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Washington Post, 17 May 2021 That typically requires digging a trench at least 18 in. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 28 Feb. 2021 The timing is bad for Burberry, which is most famous for its checked trench coats. Carol Ryan, WSJ, 28 June 2021 Creative director, Rocco Iannone sought to appeal to younger demographics with a modern approach to trench coats, bomber jackets, parkas and loose-fitting trousers—with most items sporting the Ferrari name or logo. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 14 June 2021 Dudes in trench coats browsed racks of underground comic books. David Peisner, Vulture, 21 May 2021 Adventurer Rob McCallum recently traveled to the deepest point of the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean. CNN, 20 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The estimated cost of trenching the railroad tracks is $441 million. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, 7 Jan. 2019

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

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

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 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

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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