\ˈtrəŋk \

Definition of trunk 

1a : the main stem of a tree apart from limbs and roots

called also bole

b(1) : the human or animal body apart from the head and appendages : torso

(2) : the thorax of an insect

c : the central part of anything specifically : the shaft of a column or pilaster

2a(1) : a large rigid piece of luggage used usually for transporting clothing and personal effects

(2) : the luggage compartment of an automobile

b(1) : a superstructure over a ship's hatches usually level with the poop deck

(2) : the part of the cabin of a boat projecting above the deck

(3) : the housing for a centerboard or rudder

3 : proboscis especially : the long muscular proboscis of the elephant

4 trunks plural : men's shorts worn chiefly for sports swimming trunks

5a : a usually major channel or passage (such as a chute or shaft)

b : a circuit between two telephone exchanges for making connections between subscribers broadly : a usually electronic path over which information is transmitted (as between computer systems)

6a : the principal channel or main body of a system or part that divides into branches a nerve trunk the trunk of a river

b : trunk line

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Other Words from trunk

trunkful \ ˈtrənk-​ˌfu̇l \ noun

Synonyms for trunk


bin, box, caddy, case, casket, chest, locker

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Examples of trunk in a Sentence

the trunk of an artery threw the rest of her books and tapes in the trunk and closed the lid

Recent Examples on the Web

The baobab had short sticks jammed into its trunk, forming a perilous ladder that the Hadza climbed to raid beehives. WSJ, "Hunting in Tanzania the Way Our Earliest Ancestors Did," 9 Oct. 2018 Mackley was arrested Monday when police found a body in his car trunk during a traffic stop, Portland police Sgt. Gillian Flaccus, Fox News, "Sex offender pleads not guilty to killing woman, 89," 26 Sep. 2018 Autumn even got the tree in front of the wall involved by wrapping its trunk and painting its cover, and filling its leaves with artificial blooms. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Autumn de Forest and Aussie Hair Care Team Up for Wynwood Walls Mural in Miami," 28 Aug. 2018 There are these old villages with enormous trees: Their trunks are about 20 feet across, which must be a reaction to the way water comes down the mountain. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "You Won't Find Matthew Kneale's Rome on TripAdvisor," 27 July 2018 Now slowly lift your trunk and gently straighten your legs, keeping your tailbone long. Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Good Housekeeping, "What to Do Right After You Throw Out Your Back," 26 July 2018 Kristin Chenoweth plays an East Peck socialite who — oops! — was found with her husband Edgar’s corpse in a suitcase in her trunk. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of July 15-21," 14 July 2018 There is a decent amount of cargo space behind the rear seat, as well — 17.1 cubic feet, which is more than the average midsize sedan has in its trunk. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "COMPACT," 13 July 2018 And if any of those new plants happens to be an oak or Chinese pistachio, wrap its trunk with paper tree wrap to protect the thin bark from sunscald and invasion by borers. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Here’s your gardening to-do list for the second part of the summer," 11 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for trunk

Middle English trunke Anglo-French trunc, trunke, from Latin truncus trunk, torso

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Statistics for trunk

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trunk

The first known use of trunk was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for trunk



English Language Learners Definition of trunk

: the thick main stem of a tree

: the main part of the human body not including the head, arms, and legs

: the main or central part of something


\ˈtrəŋk \

Kids Definition of trunk

1 : the thick main stem of a tree not including the branches and roots

2 : a box or chest for holding clothes or other articles especially for traveling

3 : the enclosed space in the rear of an automobile for carrying articles

4 : the long round muscular nose of an elephant

5 trunks plural : a swimsuit for a man or boy

6 : the body of a person or animal not including the head, arms, and legs


\ˈtrəŋk \

Medical Definition of trunk 

1 : the human body apart from the head and appendages : torso

2 : the main body of an anatomical part (as a nerve or blood vessel) that divides into branches

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More from Merriam-Webster on trunk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trunk

Spanish Central: Translation of trunk

Nglish: Translation of trunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trunk for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trunk

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