of, relating to, or noting a main channel or line, as of a railroad or river.

Origin of trunk

1400–50; late Middle English trunke < Latin truncus stem, trunk, stump, noun use of truncus lopped
Related formstrunk·less, adjectivesub·trunk, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trunk

Contemporary Examples of trunk

Historical Examples of trunk

  • The station-master was standing on the platform, superintending the removal of a trunk.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • When you pack your wardrobes put a few spring-beds in your trunk.

  • "You'd better be packing your trunk," the Inspector rumbled.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • I could see the tip of One-Tusk's trunk go up with a start every time he winded it.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • We'll bring her trunk down, put it in her room and lay the keys on top.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

British Dictionary definitions for trunk



the main stem of a tree, usually thick and upright, covered with bark and having branches at some distance from the ground
a large strong case or box used to contain clothes and other personal effects when travelling and for storage
anatomy the body excluding the head, neck, and limbs; torso
the elongated prehensile nasal part of an elephant; proboscis
Also called: (Brit, Austral., NZ, and South African) boot US and Canadian an enclosed compartment of a car for holding luggage, etc, usually at the rear
anatomy the main stem of a nerve, blood vessel, etc
nautical a watertight boxlike cover within a vessel with its top above the waterline, such as one used to enclose a centreboard
an enclosed duct or passageway for ventilation, etc
(modifier) of or relating to a main road, railway, etc, in a networka trunk line
See also trunks
Derived Formstrunkful, nountrunkless, adjective

Word Origin for trunk

C15: from Old French tronc, from Latin truncus, from truncus (adj) lopped
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 trunk

mid-15c., "box, case," from Old French tronc "alms box in a church" (12c.), also "trunk of a tree, trunk of the human body," from Latin truncus, originally "mutilated, cut off." The meaning "box, case" is likely to be from the notion of the body as the "case" of the organs. English acquired the other two senses of the Old French in late 15c.: "main stem of a tree" and "torso of a human body." The sense of "luggage compartment of a motor vehicle" is from 1930. The use in reference to an elephant's snout is from 1560s, perhaps from confusion with trump (short for trumpet). Railroad trunk line is attested from 1843; telephone version is from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

trunk in Medicine




The body excluding the head and limbs.
The main stem of a blood vessel or nerve apart from the branches.
A large collecting lymphatic vessel.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.