World English Dictionary
staunch1 (stɔːntʃ)
1.  loyal, firm, and dependable: a staunch supporter
2.  solid or substantial in construction
3.  rare (of a ship, etc) watertight; seaworthy
[C15: (originally: watertight): from Old French estanche, from estanchier to stanch]

staunch2 (stɔːntʃ)
vb, —n
a variant spelling of stanch

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1412, "impervious to water," from O.Fr. estanche "firm, watertight," fem. of estanc "dried, exhausted, wearied, vanquished," from V.L. *stanticare, probably from L. stans (gen. stantis), prp. of stare "to stand," from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Sense of "strong,
substantial" first recorded 1455; of persons, "standing firm and true to one's principles" from 1623.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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