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[trawf, trof or, sometimes, trawth, troth] /trɔf, trɒf or, sometimes, trɔθ, trɒθ/
a long, narrow, open receptacle, usually boxlike in shape, used chiefly to hold water or food for animals.
any of several similarly shaped receptacles used for various commercial or household purposes.
a channel or conduit for conveying water, as a gutter under the eaves of a building for carrying away rain water.
any long depression or hollow, as between two ridges or waves.
Oceanography. a long, wide, and deep depression in the ocean floor having gently sloping sides, wider and shallower than a trench.
Compare trench (def 4).
Meteorology. an elongated area of relatively low pressure.
the lowest point, especially in an economic cycle.
before 900; Middle English; Old English trōh; cognate with Dutch, German, Old Norse trog
Related forms
troughlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for troughs
  • Lowing beside the troughs, welcoming her and her pails.
  • And they came unwearied to the high-roofed byres and the drinking-troughs that were before the noble meadow.
  • They had rings and clasps and torques of gold and silver, urns and mugs and troughs and vessels of iron and silver.
  • The crests of one wave match the crests of all the others, and troughs match up with troughs.
  • The table went for the bone marrow: four troughs of elemental, gooey pith.
  • It festers as an immobile sludge in the troughs that weave in and out among the labyrinths of gray shacks.
  • But the long-term trend is less important than the effects of the peaks and troughs.
  • The land was rolling, rather than flat, and its slopes came together to form natural troughs for rainwater.
  • The ship heaved upward and vibrated in the heaviest water, and slammed down into the troughs, sometimes with a crash.
  • Although public anger tends toward cyclical peaks and troughs, its varieties fall into well-established taxonomical grooves.
British Dictionary definitions for troughs


a narrow open container, esp one in which food or water for animals is put
a narrow channel, gutter, or gulley
a narrow depression either in the land surface, ocean bed, or between two successive waves
(meteorol) an elongated area of low pressure, esp an extension of a depression Compare ridge (sense 6)
a single or temporary low point; depression
(physics) the portion of a wave, such as a light wave, in which the amplitude lies below its average value
(economics) the lowest point or most depressed stage of the trade cycle
(intransitive) (informal) to eat, consume, or take greedily
Derived Forms
troughlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English trōh; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse trog trough, Dutch trügge ladle
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 troughs



Old English trog, from Proto-Germanic *trugoz (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old Norse trog, Middle Dutch troch, Dutch trog, Old High German troc, German trog), perhaps ultimately from PIE *drukos, from root *dru- "wood, tree" (see tree). Originally pronounced in English with a hard -gh- (as in Scottish loch); pronunciation shifted to -f-, but spelling remained.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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troughs in Science
  1. The part of a wave with the least magnitude; the lowest part of a wave. Compare crest. See more at wave.

  2. A narrow, elongated region of relatively low atmospheric pressure occurring at the ground surface or in the upper atmosphere, and often associated with a front. Compare ridge.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for troughs

trots, the

noun phrase

Diarrhea; the SHITS (1904+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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