9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tren-chuh nt] /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 forms
trenchancy, noun
trenchantly, adverb
1. sharp, biting, acute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trenchant
  • 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.
  • The well-judged dialogue, at once terse and trenchant, finds its own characteristic poetry.
  • It doesn't get any more honest, funny, or trenchant than that.
  • Polite quibbling, no matter how trenchant, is different from battling.
  • The art form evolved as a perfect way to communicate almost any opinion or emotion in a trenchant, poignant or humorous way.
  • The concept of scale is lacking also from the terms of the motion-no doubt in a desire to stir debate with a trenchant statement.
  • Enough, it turns out, to make a film that's frothy but trenchant.
British Dictionary definitions for trenchant


keen or incisive: trenchant criticism
vigorous and effective: a trenchant foreign policy
distinctly defined: a trenchant outline
(archaic or poetic) sharp: a trenchant sword
Derived Forms
trenchancy, noun
trenchantly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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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
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