trenchant

adjective tren·chant \ -chənt \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of trenchant

1 : keen, sharp
2 : vigorously effective and articulate
  • a trenchant analysis
; also : caustic
  • trenchant remarks
3 a : sharply perceptive : penetrating
  • a trenchant view of current conditions
b : clear-cut, distinct
  • the trenchant divisions between right and wrong
  • —Edith Wharton

trenchantly

adverb

trenchant was our Word of the Day on 11/05/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of trenchant in a Sentence

  1. a writer with a trenchant wit

  2. even the most trenchant sword could not sever the bonds of loyalty between them

Recent Examples of trenchant from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trenchant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The word trenchant comes from the Anglo-French verb trencher, meaning "to cut," and may ultimately derive from the Vulgar Latin trinicare, meaning "to cut in three." Hence, a trenchant sword is one with a keen edge; a trenchant remark is one that cuts deep; and a trenchant observation is one that cuts to the heart of the matter. Relatives of trenchant in English include the noun trench ("a long ditch cut into the ground") and the verb retrench ("to cut down or pare away" or "to cut down expenses").

Origin and Etymology of trenchant

Middle English trenchaunt, from Anglo-French, present participle of trencher


TRENCHANT Defined for English Language Learners

trenchant

adjective

Definition of trenchant for English Language Learners

  • : very strong, clear, and effective



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