\ ˈtrəŋk How to pronounce trunk (audio) \

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, neck, 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

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Other Words from trunk

trunkful \ ˈtrənk-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce trunk (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for trunk


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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 Their trunk was full of water and Cheetos; the screen perched on White’s lap, a real-time look at the city’s 911 log, was a litany of woe: suicide, fight in progress, child neglect, wanted person, missing person. Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2021 Why was this tree, on the lower slope, doing so beautifully, its tiny trunk much thicker than the rest, its needles skewering outward like porcupine quills, its yellow-green buds promising new growth? Lauren Markham, Wired, 9 Oct. 2021 Once, my husband, a firefighter, came home with a bomb (deactivated of course) in his trunk. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 Participants are asked to register their trunk by 4:30 p.m., Oct. 20 for the decorating contest. Brenda Cain, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2021 Soaring through the center of the structure—rising from the dirt, through the first-level floor, up three stories, and out the roof—stood a massive oak, its trunk encased by interior glass and its branches and leaves canopied over the house. Jeffrey Ball, Fortune, 28 Sep. 2021 The man appeared to empty the contents of several tubs into the trash bin, put the tubs back in his trunk and drive away. Dallas News, 28 Sep. 2021 And an analysis of video feeds showed that what the military may have seen was Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to take home to his family. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 18 Sep. 2021 Photographs by Flávia Milhorance On a rainy March afternoon, Rogério Mendes strides through the dripping vegetation of a tract of virgin Amazonian forest and stops at a tree with scars arranged in neat diagonal rows across its trunk. Brian Barth, The New Republic, 7 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for trunk

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near trunk

Trung Cha



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Statistics for trunk

Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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 : torso
: the main or central part of something


\ ˈtrəŋk How to pronounce trunk (audio) \

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 How to pronounce trunk (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on trunk

Nglish: Translation of trunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trunk for Arabic Speakers


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