\ 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

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 Negotiating around the 40-foot rock walls is half the fun (or claustrophobic for some) and is especially awesome when the trench-traversing trail winds under a natural bridge formed by a sedimentary slab. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2021 There are great coats too, such as the double-breasted khaki trench that could be paired with literally everything, and fun accessories like the bucket hats, also made of corduroy. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2021 With offices opening back up, Rent the Runway, which offers everything from sweatshirts to blazers and trench coats, is likely to be a beneficiary. Laura Forman, WSJ, 20 Oct. 2021 In recent collections, Hirsch has hinted at a departure from bridal in her designs—pieces like silk separates, lace trench coats, and dark-hued gowns that are so cool, brides want to wear them long after their wedding day. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 14 Oct. 2021 Her urn looked exactly the same as 13 others placed alongside the edge of a freshly dug trench. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 As the industry dug out of the trench after 9/11, the action in digital content became more closely aligned with traditional Hollywood brands. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 27 Aug. 2021 At the opposite end of the trench, however, Charles and the other young princes were playing around, unaffected by the ritual. Peter Brown, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 But for decades, pedestrians trying to reach the arch and the surrounding 90-acre park from downtown had to scuttle along narrow sidewalks on streets that bridged the highway trench and crossed two busy, three-lane highway access roads. Steven Litt, cleveland, 15 Aug. 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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The first known use of trench was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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 : ditch
: 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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