\ ˈtrȯf, ˈtrȯth, by bakers often ˈtrō\
plural troughs\ ˈtrȯfs , 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

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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

Warm colors represent ridges, and blue colors represent troughs. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "May outlook: It’s the slowest start to spring since 1999, but we are finally turning the corner," 30 Apr. 2018 Silver would rather see temporary watering troughs during an extreme drought. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Back from the brink, the Sonoran pronghorn now roam an increasingly political landscape," 27 Mar. 2018 Using a tape measure, Dr. Vranich recorded my girth at the crest and trough of my breathing pattern. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "You’re Breathing All Wrong—Here’s How To Do It Right," 21 Mar. 2018 In this Texas home, the great room, kitchen, and master bedroom all open up to this luxe 30-foot-diameter reflecting pool built to resemble a watering trough. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "9 One-Of-A-Kind Backyards," 15 Apr. 2014 Inside, the surface is sand, split down the middle by a long sculptural water trough, reminiscent of some of the garden designs of Italian modernist Carlo Scarpa. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "How not to cheat children: Let them build their own playgrounds," 18 July 2018 Patterns range from stripes and geometrics to florals and damasks, all using Farrow & Ball’s traditional trough and block printing methods. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Farrow & Ball launches whimsical wallpaper at Anthropologie," 27 Aug. 2018 Our experience is that these surface troughs are not always a reliable thunderstorm trigger. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Severe thunderstorm watch: Storms approaching D.C.’s southern suburbs," 10 May 2018 To form, tornadoes need warm, humid weather and deep troughs in the jet stream, and that has been lacking across the Plains so far in 2018. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: House Republicans criticize Democrats for criticizing Pruitt," 27 Apr. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for trough

Last Updated

27 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for trough

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

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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 \

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

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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
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