[ tren-chuhnt ]
/ ˈtrɛn tʃənt /


incisive or keen, as language or a person; caustic; cutting: trenchant wit.
vigorous; effective; energetic: a trenchant policy of political reform.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trenchant

British Dictionary definitions for trenchant


/ (ˈtrɛntʃənt) /


keen or incisivetrenchant criticism
vigorous and effectivea trenchant foreign policy
distinctly defineda trenchant outline
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 trenchant



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