See more synonyms for trenchant on
  1. incisive or keen, as language or a person; caustic; cutting: trenchant wit.
  2. vigorous; effective; energetic: a trenchant policy of political reform.
  3. clearly or sharply defined; clear-cut; distinct.

Origin of trenchant

1275–1325; Middle English tranchaunt < Anglo-French; Old French trenchant, present participle of trenchier to cut. See trench, -ant
Related formstrench·an·cy, nountrench·ant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for trenchant

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trenchancy

Historical Examples of trenchancy

British Dictionary definitions for trenchancy


  1. keen or incisivetrenchant criticism
  2. vigorous and effectivea trenchant foreign policy
  3. distinctly defineda trenchant outline
  4. archaic, or poetic sharpa trenchant sword
Derived Formstrenchancy, nountrenchantly, adverb

Word Origin for trenchant

C14: from Old French trenchant cutting, from trenchier to cut; see trench
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

Word Origin and History for trenchancy



early 14c., "cutting, sharp," from Old French trenchant "cutting, sharp," present participle of trenchier "to cut" (see trench). Figurative sense is recorded from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper