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

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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]

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Examples of truncheon in a Sentence


police officers were forced to use their truncheons on the rioters

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There were pitched battles against the forces de l’ordre that ended with the demonstrators bloodied and driven back under a wave of truncheons. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "A Play with No End," 22 July 2019 At a mass rally on July 27, police took almost 1,400 people into custody and violently clashed with the thousands of protesters, beating some with truncheons. Los Angeles Times, "Russian political crisis grows with more arrests in Moscow," 3 Aug. 2019 Russian police beat some protesters to the ground with wide truncheon swings while others tried to push the police away. Jim Heintz,, "Russian police crack down violently on Moscow protesters, arresting nearly 1,400 people," 28 July 2019 Some donned goggles to guard against pepper spray and helmets to protect from truncheons. The Economist, "Hong Kong protesters storm the legislative council," 30 June 2019 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for truncheon

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for truncheon

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

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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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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