1
a
: 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
2
a(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
5
a
: 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)
6
a
: the principal channel or main body of a system or part that divides into branches
a nerve trunk
the trunk of a river
trunkful noun

Example Sentences

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 ring wraps around the trunk and is lifted by a crane up the length of the tree, cooking the weevils inside. Matti Friedman, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2022 The cargo area inside the trunk may not rival that of a hatchback or crossover, but the rear seats fold to expand the space back there. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 21 Nov. 2022 Trying to cable or tie them back to the main trunk is almost always wasted energy. oregonlive, 20 Nov. 2022 Police cadaver dog picked up the scent of human decomposition in the car, and an air sample confirmed that there were once human remains in Casey's trunk. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 19 Nov. 2022 Area churches got in on the fun, including Arlington Countryside Church hosting its annual trunk-or-treat on the church grounds. Jessi Virtusio, Chicago Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 But when Kindani’s trunk starts groping around his nose and mouth, the reporter gives up. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Nov. 2022 But plaque psoriasis often appears on areas like the elbows, knees, trunk, and scalp, Esther Kim, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF. Beth Krietsch, SELF, 16 Nov. 2022 Toward the tailgate, there’s also an in-bed trunk that reveals another 7.3 cubic feet of storage, complete with its own drain for easy cleaning and the ability to double up as a drinks cooler. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near trunk

Cite this Entry

“Trunk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trunk. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

1
a
: the main stem of a tree apart from branches or roots
b
: the body of a person or animal apart from the head, arms, and legs : torso
c
: the main or central part of something
trunk of an artery
2
a
: a box or chest for holding clothes or other articles especially for traveling
b
: the enclosed space usually in the rear of an automobile for carrying articles
3
: the long flexible muscular nose of an elephant or a related mammal (as a woolly mammoth)
4
plural : men's shorts worn chiefly for sports
swimming trunks

Medical Definition

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ