trench

noun
\ˈtrench \

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

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Synonyms for trench

Synonyms: Noun

dike, ditch, gutter, trough

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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

Among the nations that sit on the edge of these blocs, squeezed between the West and Russia, the tensions within NATO have not prompted people to start digging trenches or calling up reserves. Simon Shuster/tallinn, Time, "Trump Shakes Up NATO, but Eastern European Allies Aren't Stirred," 13 July 2018 Workers dug trenches on the foundry floor that branching out from a long central channel, making space for the liquid iron to flow. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 On many streets, the rebels have dug trenches and erected sand barricades, preparing for possible street-by-street clashes against the coalition forces, residents said. Ali Al Mujahed, Washington Post, "Thousands flee key Yemeni port city as Hodeida offensive continues," 5 July 2018 Digging trenches is considered dangerous work with dozens of people across the country killed each year in collapses. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Investigation into fatal trench collapse at Baltimore park could take weeks," 8 June 2018 Due to various factors, including the construction equipment's orientation and instability of surrounding trenches, rescue personnel needed time to determine if this would be a rescue or recovery mission. Kimberly Rapanut, azcentral, "Construction worker missing after crane topples at Phoenix Sky Harbor," 21 May 2018 Numbers in the 20s, 30s and 40s are running backs on offense and defensive backs on defense; those with 60s and 70s play in the trenches; teens and 80s are wide receivers, etc. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "NFL and College Football Are Not the Same Game," 11 July 2018 The bodies reached Hart Island on a ferry like all the others, in spare wooden boxes and bound for ignominious mass interment off the coast of the Bronx where New York City buries its unclaimed dead by the hundreds in long, shallow trenches. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "Dead of AIDS and Forgotten in Potter’s Field," 3 July 2018 But few Republican soldiers wanted to get into the trenches with him on a moral and political crisis of his own making. NBC News, "Why Trump was forced to back down on family separation policy," 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.

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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

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Learn More about trench

Phrases Related to trench

the trenches

Statistics for trench

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trench

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of trench

: a long narrow ditch

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Comments on trench

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