Definition of trenchant in English:



  • 1Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.

    ‘the White Paper makes trenchant criticisms of health authorities’
    • ‘Lincoln, who by this time had been brought back into politics by Kansas-Nebraska, became one of the trenchant critics of Douglas's theory of popular sovereignty.’
    • ‘Suzie's delight in the gift of the greens is as evident as her disgust in the offer of marriage; she rejects it with trenchant sarcasm and turns abruptly to feed her dog.’
    • ‘The drama has many trenchant things to say about New Labour's obsession with style over substance.’
    • ‘In often trenchant language, he criticised the proposed development for being overly-commercial and entirely unacceptable for such a sensitive area.’
    • ‘So, in the spirit of giving till it hurts, let me offer up to the least deserving of us my annual scathingly incisive yet perennially trenchant.’
    • ‘From the early 1920s, the ‘New Realism’ of Grosz, Otto Dix, and Christian Schad expressed a trenchant social criticism comparable with the plays of Bertolt Brecht.’
    • ‘A quiet and generally even tempered man, he could be and was trenchant in his criticisms as the occasion demanded.’
    • ‘That meant that he was always hugely popular both in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, because his criticisms, although trenchant, were never malicious.’
    • ‘Not for this group a knee-jerk rejection of the idea of foundation hospitals; rather a trenchant debate about how patients could be involved in local health services both as consumers and as citizens.’
    • ‘What makes his books so popular is that he presents what he does find in a singularly trenchant and forthright manner.’
    • ‘Galbraith would be horrified by the suggestion that he is part of the mainstream, instead presenting himself as a trenchant critic of what he sees as the corporate-dominated values of today.’
    • ‘As social critics, they are trenchant and savage, just as one might expect of two former art students who cut their teeth on the Sex Pistols and the Situationists.’
    • ‘However, only a few of the dozen-strong cast have the requisite style to make the parody trenchant instead of merely silly.’
    • ‘Anyone expressing trenchant anti-monarchist views is now suspected of sympathising with Irish republicanism's most fanatical fringe.’
    • ‘The Bill passed its first reading easily, despite trenchant criticism from radicals who were angry about interference with the freedom of refugees.’
    • ‘Neither was his crime to be caught expressing his trenchant views, even though that was a bit stupid.’
    • ‘The interviewer was the man who at the time was regarded as the most abrasive, trenchant, incisive (you get the point) questioner of the time, Robin Day.’
    • ‘Deftly weaving original research, trenchant analysis, and an engaging prose style, Dillon recaptures the Spirit of an age that in many ways bears a strong resemblance to our own.’
    • ‘In doing so, he subjects central tenets of modern economics to trenchant criticism.’
    • ‘Members may recall that when the Parole Act and the Sentencing Act were first passed, there was trenchant criticism from the Court of Appeal.’
    incisive, cutting, pointed, piercing, penetrating, sharp, keen, acute, razor-sharp, razor-edged, rapier-like
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  • 2archaic, literary (of a weapon or tool) having a sharp edge.

    ‘a trenchant blade’


Middle English (in trenchant (sense 2)): from Old French, literally ‘cutting’, present participle of trenchier (see trench).