[ trih-fahyn, -feen ]
/ trɪˈfaɪn, -ˈfin /


a small circular saw with a center pin mounted on a strong hollow metal shaft to which is attached a transverse handle: used in surgery to remove circular disks of bone from the skull.

verb (used with object), tre·phined, tre·phin·ing.

to operate upon with a trephine.

Nearby words

  1. trenton,
  2. trepan,
  3. trepanation,
  4. trepang,
  5. trephination,
  6. trepid,
  7. trepidant,
  8. trepidatio cordis,
  9. trepidation,
  10. treponema

Origin of trephine

1620–30; spelling variant of trefine, orig. trafine, blend of trapan (variant of trepan1) and Latin phrase trēs fīnēs three ends (the inventor's explanation)

Related formstreph·i·na·tion [tref-uh-ney-shuh n] /ˌtrɛf əˈneɪ ʃən/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trephine

British Dictionary definitions for trephine


/ (trɪˈfiːn) /


a surgical sawlike instrument for removing circular sections of bone, esp from the skull


(tr) to remove a circular section of bone from (esp the skull)
Also called: trepan

Derived Formstrephination (ˌtrɛfɪˈneɪʃən), noun

Word Origin for trephine

C17: from French tréphine, from obsolete English trefine trepan 1, allegedly from Latin trēs fīnēs literally: three ends; influenced also by English trepane trepan 1

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

Medicine definitions for trephine


[ trĭ-fīn ]


A cylindrical or crown saw for the removal of a disk of bone, especially from the skull, or removal of other firm tissue such as that of the cornea.


To operate on with a trephine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.