trun·​cheon | \ ˈtrən-chən How to pronounce truncheon (audio) \

Definition of truncheon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a police officer's billy club
c obsolete : club, bludgeon
2 : a shattered spear or lance


truncheoned; truncheoning; truncheons

Definition of truncheon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to beat with a truncheon

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for truncheon

Synonyms: Noun

bastinado (or bastinade), bat, baton, billy, billy club, bludgeon, cane, club, cudgel, nightstick, rod, rung [Scottish], sap, shillelagh (also shillalah), staff, waddy [Australian]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of truncheon in a Sentence


police officers were forced to use their truncheons on the rioters

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The black truncheon attached to their ears became hitched to its associated discourtesy. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Apple's Airpods Are an Omen," 12 June 2018 In 2008, rallies against Mr. Sargsyan’s first electoral victory as president turned violent, with army and police units beating protesters camped out in a main square with truncheons and electric-shock devices, killing 10 people. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Armenian Mass Protests Paralyze the Capital, Pressuring Ally Russia," 2 May 2018 But the fact that so many Iranians in so many different places are willing to brave the bullets and the truncheons of their oppressors speaks volumes about their frustration and anger at the state of their country. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "How Not to Report on Iran," 7 Jan. 2018 Television cameras and social media accounts showed officers stomping on voters with their boots, pounding them with truncheons and dragging them out of polling places. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "In Catalonia Independence Push, Policing Becomes Politicized," 7 Oct. 2017 National forces in riot gear began charging into schools as soon as the polls opened, clearing crowds with truncheons and rubber bullets. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "As Catalans Voted, ‘Dying With Fear’ at High School Turned Polling Place," 1 Oct. 2017 The Spanish police cracked down on parts of Catalonia in an attempt to halt an independence referendum on Oct. 1, wielding truncheons, firing rubber bullets and barring polling stations. Laure Fourquet, New York Times, "This Catalan Town Has Already Broken From Spain, Physically at Least," 24 Oct. 2017 Soon after the polls opened, Spanish riot police smashed into the voting centers, their raids caught on mobile phone cameras that showed them whipping ordinary citizens with rubber truncheons and dragging them away by their hair. William Booth, Washington Post, "Catalonia and Spain map out their next moves after chaotic vote for independence," 2 Oct. 2017 Just the day before, Macedonian security forces had used shields and truncheons to beat back hundreds of refugees, and then strung barbed wire across the border. Ali Arkady, Smithsonian, "A Modern Odyssey: Two Iraqi Refugees Tell Their Harrowing Story," 29 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'truncheon.' 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 truncheon


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for truncheon


Middle English tronchoun, from Anglo-French trunchun, from Vulgar Latin *truncion-, *truncio, from Latin truncus trunk

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about truncheon

Statistics for truncheon

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for truncheon

The first known use of truncheon was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on truncheon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with truncheon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for truncheon

Comments on truncheon

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


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

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!