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.

1275–1325; Middle English tranchaunt < Anglo-French; Old French trenchant, present participle of trenchier to cut. See trench, -ant

trenchancy, noun
trenchantly, adverb

1. sharp, biting, acute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
trenchant (ˈtrɛntʃənt)
1.  keen or incisive: trenchant criticism
2.  vigorous and effective: a trenchant foreign policy
3.  distinctly defined: a trenchant outline
4.  archaic, poetic or sharp: a trenchant sword
[C14: from Old French trenchant cutting, from trenchier to cut; see trench]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., "cutting, sharp," from O.Fr. trenchant "cutting, sharp," prp. of trenchier "to cut" (see trench). Figurative sense is recorded from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
These trenchant observations, in a book which at once became popular, must have
  gone to swell the rising puritan opposition.
He doubtless needs trenchant treatment to bring him back to reality.
They have a few months now to prepare pithy or trenchant spin for the day this
  summer when the panel upholds the law.
Not by all controversialists, of course, but by those trenchant intellects
  which every controversy calls out into the open.
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