[ trench ]
See synonyms for trench on
  1. Fortification. a long, narrow excavation in the ground, the earth from which is thrown up in front to serve as a shelter from enemy fire or attack.

  2. trenches, a system of such excavations, with their embankments, etc.

  1. a deep furrow, ditch, or cut.

  2. Oceanography. a long, steep-sided, narrow depression in the ocean floor.

verb (used with object)
  1. to surround or fortify with trenches; entrench.

  2. to cut a trench in.

  1. to set or place in a trench.

  2. to form (a furrow, ditch, etc.) by cutting into or through something.

  3. to make a cut in; cut into; carve.

verb (used without object)
  1. to dig a trench.

Verb Phrases
  1. trench on / upon

    • to encroach or infringe on.

    • to come close to; verge on: His remarks were trenching on poor taste.

Origin of trench

1350–1400; Middle English trenche path made by cutting <Old French: act of cutting, a cut, derivative of trenchier to cut <Vulgar Latin *trincāre, for Latin truncāre to lop; see truncate

Other words from trench

  • subtrench, noun
  • un·trenched, adjective

Words Nearby trench

Other definitions for Trench (2 of 2)

[ trench ]

  1. Richard Chen·e·vix [shen-uh-vee], /ˈʃɛn ə vi/, 1807–86, English clergyman and scholar, born in Ireland. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trench in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trench


/ (trɛntʃ) /

  1. a deep ditch or furrow

  2. a ditch dug as a fortification, having a parapet of the excavated earth

  1. to make a trench in (a place)

  2. (tr) to fortify with a trench or trenches

  1. to slash or be slashed

  2. (intr; foll by on or upon) to encroach or verge

Origin of trench

C14: from Old French trenche something cut, from trenchier to cut, from Latin truncāre to cut off

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

Scientific definitions for trench


[ trĕnch ]

  1. A long, steep-sided valley on the ocean floor. Trenches form when one tectonic plate slides beneath another plate at a subduction zone. The Marianas Trench, located in the western Pacific east of the Philippines, is the deepest known trench (10,924 m or 35,831 ft) and the deepest area in the ocean.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.