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[trawf, trof or, sometimes, trawth, troth] /trɔf, trɒf or, sometimes, trɔθ, trɒθ/
a long, narrow, open receptacle, usually boxlike in shape, used chiefly to hold water or food for animals.
any of several similarly shaped receptacles used for various commercial or household purposes.
a channel or conduit for conveying water, as a gutter under the eaves of a building for carrying away rain water.
any long depression or hollow, as between two ridges or waves.
Oceanography. a long, wide, and deep depression in the ocean floor having gently sloping sides, wider and shallower than a trench.
Compare trench (def 4).
Meteorology. an elongated area of relatively low pressure.
the lowest point, especially in an economic cycle.
Origin of trough
before 900; Middle English; Old English trōh; cognate with Dutch, German, Old Norse trog
Related forms
troughlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trough
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She see us a-wallowin' in the trough and our mast thrashin' for all it was worth.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • At the next instant, the brig rose on a sea, settled in the trough, and struck.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Once he got up and walked over to the trough for a drink of water.

    White Fang Jack London
  • She did not know how to sit at table, and would only eat out of a trough.

    The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete Madame La Marquise De Montespan
  • Harold tumbled out of the trough in the excess of his emotion.

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • You'll be coming up to the trough with me—the ould home, you know.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for trough


a narrow open container, esp one in which food or water for animals is put
a narrow channel, gutter, or gulley
a narrow depression either in the land surface, ocean bed, or between two successive waves
(meteorol) an elongated area of low pressure, esp an extension of a depression Compare ridge (sense 6)
a single or temporary low point; depression
(physics) the portion of a wave, such as a light wave, in which the amplitude lies below its average value
(economics) the lowest point or most depressed stage of the trade cycle
(intransitive) (informal) to eat, consume, or take greedily
Derived Forms
troughlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English trōh; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse trog trough, Dutch trügge ladle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trough

Old English trog, from Proto-Germanic *trugoz (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old Norse trog, Middle Dutch troch, Dutch trog, Old High German troc, German trog), perhaps ultimately from PIE *drukos, from root *dru- "wood, tree" (see tree). Originally pronounced in English with a hard -gh- (as in Scottish loch); pronunciation shifted to -f-, but spelling remained.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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trough in Science
  1. The part of a wave with the least magnitude; the lowest part of a wave. Compare crest. See more at wave.

  2. A narrow, elongated region of relatively low atmospheric pressure occurring at the ground surface or in the upper atmosphere, and often associated with a front. Compare ridge.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for trough


Related Terms

grease trough

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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