\ ˈtrȯf How to pronounce trough (audio) , ˈtrȯth, by bakers often ˈtrō\
plural troughs\ ˈtrȯfs How to pronounce troughs (audio) , ˈtrȯvz ; ˈtrȯths , ˈtrȯ(t͟h)z ; ˈtrōz \

Definition of trough

1a : a long shallow often V-shaped receptacle for the drinking water or feed of domestic animals
b : any of various domestic or industrial containers
2a : a conduit, drain, or channel for water especially : a gutter along the eaves of a building
b : a long and narrow or shallow channel or depression (as between waves or hills) especially : a long but shallow depression in the bed of the sea — compare trench
3 : the minimum point of a complete cycle of a periodic function: such as
a : an elongated area of low barometric pressure
b : the low point in a business cycle

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of trough in a Sentence

The economy is in a trough right now. all of the wiring for the converted residential loft is concealed in a vertical trough

Recent Examples on the Web

For the last few weeks, the jet stream has dipped over the western third of the United States, a dip known as a trough. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "How Colorado’s gray May helped fuel hundreds of Plains tornadoes," 6 June 2019 Georgantas skipped a double vanity in there in favor of a wide trough sink that allows for more elbow room. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "This Incredible Nantucket Home Is Filled With History," 23 May 2019 The studio is flanked by a trough full of tall bamboo and a twisting wisteria vine trained to grow over a doorway. Amy Pennington, The Seattle Times, "A couple’s Rainier Beach garden is a place of creativity, vision and function," 19 May 2019 The ratio was twice as high before the last recession and eight times as high during the trough. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Help Wanted in the U.S.A.," 10 May 2019 But plumping up the tear trough area with injections isn’t a quick fix for every eye area complaint. April Long, Town & Country, "Yes, You Can Get Filler for Your Under Eye Area—But Do You Need It?," 9 May 2019 That is down sharply from three months ago, but still well above the trough multiples seen during the last two major selloffs of the past decade. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Apple Can’t Just Phone It In," 27 Jan. 2019 The CloudFisher was described by the WaterFoundation as the first maintance-free fog collector that can withstand wind speeds of up 75 miles per hour with flexible troughs following the movement of the net in the wind. The Christian Science Monitor, "Fog catchers turn mist into water in the Moroccan mountains," 17 May 2018 GE’s shares are up by nearly 70% since their mid-December trough. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "GE’s Biotech Miracle Cure," 25 Feb. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of trough

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for trough

Middle English, from Old English trog; akin to Old High German trog trough, Old English trēow tree, wood — more at tree entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trough

Statistics for trough

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trough

The first known use of trough was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trough



English Language Learners Definition of trough

: a long, shallow container from which animals (such as cows, pigs, horses, etc.) eat or drink
: a period in which there is little economic activity and prices are usually low
: a long, low area between waves or hills


\ ˈtrȯf How to pronounce trough (audio) \

Kids Definition of trough

1 : a long shallow open container especially for water or feed for livestock
2 : a channel for water : gutter
3 : a long channel or hollow


Medical Definition of trough

— see gingival trough

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on trough

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trough

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trough

Spanish Central: Translation of trough

Nglish: Translation of trough for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trough for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trough

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!