\ 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

Officers found 99 pints of codeine, worth $1,500 per pint, in the trunk, DPS said. Bayan Wang, azcentral, "Officials: $150,000 worth of codeine seized in Pima County; 2 arrested," 13 July 2018 In the redesign, the hybrid battery was moved to below the back seat, which freed up space in the trunk. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: When mileage and elegance matter," 15 May 2018 During a search of the car, a loaded 9 mm handgun was found in the trunk. Julie A. Short/special To,, "Resident leaves apartment, forgets food still cooking on stove: Rocky River Police Blotter," 5 May 2018 There is Niro’s portrait of her mother, who strikes a pose on the trunk of a car, her arm flung coyly behind her head. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018 Instead of waders, gear up with good water shoes and swim trunks. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "How to beat the heat on your fishing trips in Idaho’s summer sun," 12 July 2018 Looking happy to be taking a break from her rigorous Reputation Stadium Tour, Swift rocked a blue and white striped bikini while Alwyn, beer in hand, sported navy swim trunks. Rita Thompson, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Holds Hands With Boyfriend Joe Alwyn in Turks and Caicos: See the Sweet Pic," 10 July 2018 Drivers of the New i20 also benefit from outstanding roominess, with an uncompromised trunk capacity of 326 litres (VDA). Stacy Argo, Houston Chronicle, "Sleek, modern shower doors provide streamlined look," 8 July 2018 This pivotal moment could upgrade your swim-trunks game considerably. WSJ, "A Nearly Nude Take on James-Bond Style," 6 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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Phrases Related to trunk

swimming trunks

trunk call

trunk road

Statistics for trunk

Last Updated

10 Sep 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

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


the setting in which something occurs

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