Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A deep furrow or ditch.
  • noun A long narrow ditch embanked with its own soil and used for concealment and protection in warfare.
  • noun A long, steep-sided valley on the ocean floor.
  • intransitive verb To dig or make a trench or trenches in (land or an area, for example).
  • intransitive verb To place in a trench.
  • intransitive verb To dig a trench or trenches.
  • intransitive verb To encroach. Often used with on or upon.
  • intransitive verb To verge or border. Often used with on or upon.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A narrow excavation of considerable length cut into the earth; a deep furrow or ditch.
  • noun A lane or road cut through shrubbery or woods.
  • To cut, as a notch, hole, mark, etc.; form by cutting; carve; incise.
  • To cut into; form a ditch, trench, or other linear depression in: as, to trench the ground round a camp or a fort.
  • In agriculture, to furrow deeply, especially with the spade; dig deeply and turn over thoroughly by means of a succession of contiguous trenches.
  • In cabinet-making and the like, to work with a long continuous groove, as a rail which is to be fitted upon the heads of a series of bars or balusters.
  • To cut; slash.
  • Specifically, to form a trench or trenches; proceed by or as if by means of trenches.
  • To encroach; infringe; obtrude as if by cutting into something: used of conduct, expression, or the like, usually with on or upon: as, to trench upon another's rights. Also intrench.
  • To reach out; extend; tend.
  • Synonyms Encroach upon, Infringe, etc. See trespass.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To encroach; to intrench.
  • intransitive verb rare To have direction; to aim or tend.
  • intransitive verb [Obs.] to make trenches against; to approach by trenches, as a town in besieging it.
  • transitive verb To cut; to form or shape by cutting; to make by incision, hewing, or the like.
  • transitive verb (Fort.) To fortify by cutting a ditch, and raising a rampart or breastwork with the earth thrown out of the ditch; to intrench.
  • transitive verb To cut furrows or ditches in.
  • transitive verb To dig or cultivate very deeply, usually by digging parallel contiguous trenches in succession, filling each from the next.
  • noun A long, narrow cut in the earth; a ditch.
  • noun obsolete An alley; a narrow path or walk cut through woods, shrubbery, or the like.
  • noun (Fort.) An excavation made during a siege, for the purpose of covering the troops as they advance toward the besieged place. The term includes the parallels and the approaches.
  • noun (Mil.) to begin to dig or to form the lines of approach.
  • noun (Fort.) an elevation constructed (by a besieger) of gabions, fascines, earth, and the like, about half way up the glacis, in order to discover and enfilade the covered way.
  • noun a kind of plow for opening land to a greater depth than that of common furrows.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A long, narrow ditch or hole dug in the ground, especially in warfare.
  • noun archaeology A pit, usually rectangular with smooth walls and floor, excavated during an archaeological investigation.
  • noun informal A trench coat.
  • verb To invade, especially with regard to the rights or the exclusive authority of another.
  • verb military, infantry To excavate an elongated pit for protection of soldiers and or equipment, usually perpendicular to the line of sight toward the enemy.
  • verb archaeology To excavate an elongated and often narrow pit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb cut a trench in, as for drainage
  • noun a long steep-sided depression in the ocean floor
  • verb cut or carve deeply into
  • verb impinge or infringe upon
  • verb dig a trench or trenches
  • verb fortify by surrounding with trenches
  • noun a ditch dug as a fortification having a parapet of the excavated earth
  • verb set, plant, or bury in a trench
  • noun any long ditch cut in the ground

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English trenche, from Old French, from trenchier, to cut, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *trincāre, variant of Latin truncāre, from truncus, trunk; see terə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French trenchier ("cut, make a cut").

Examples

  • It's usually a variety of steak served with frozen vegetables and what they describe as trench fried.

    She Closed Her Eyes

  • Below the trench is a lace negligee of barbed wire, all the barbed wire the kibbutz had in 1948, and beyond that are Egyptian tanks, just where they stopped when they could go no farther.

    Zion's Vital Signs

  • Below the trench is a lace negligee of barbed wire, all the barbed wire the kibbutz had in 1948, and beyond that are Egyptian tanks, just where they stopped when they could go no farther.

    Zion's Vital Signs

  • So the only way that they could really construct what we call a trench would be actually what I call a fortification meaning they would have to build up.

    A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front

  • They would dress up like their father in trench coats and hats, several of them, and jump into several different cars and screech off in different directions to drive the CIA agents nuts, because they didnt know which one was really Anderson and which one to follow.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

  • They would dress up like their father in trench coats and hats, several of them, and jump into several different cars and screech off in different directions to drive the CIA agents nuts, because they didnt know which one was really Anderson and which one to follow.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

  • A trench is always a classic spring piece, great to have for those rainy days.

    Spring fashion: Say goodbye to the winter blahs! | Northern Belle

  • They would dress up like their father in trench coats and hats, several of them, and jump into several different cars and screech off in different directions to drive the CIA agents nuts, because they didnt know which one was really Anderson and which one to follow.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

  • Reagan broke that pattern, but it took him a while engaged in trench warfare with the old bull Elephants.

    Never let an oil leak go to waste? | RedState

  • They would dress up like their father in trench coats and hats, several of them, and jump into several different cars and screech off in different directions to drive the CIA agents nuts, because they didnt know which one was really Anderson and which one to follow.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

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