Definition of entrench in US English:


(also intrench)


  • 1with object Establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely.

    ‘ageism is entrenched in our society’
    • ‘The corrections system deals with the most difficult and most entrenched behaviours.’
    • ‘Given the absence of an enabling set-up, biases are firmly entrenched within the institutional framework as policies.’
    • ‘If Scottish women can help break down entrenched attitudes of male dominated institutions of Scotland, so much the better.’
    • ‘We have lots of conflicting emotions and entrenched arrogant attitudes.’
    • ‘In today's uneasy political climate, skewed media representation further shapes and entrenches negative attitudes.’
    • ‘While the trio's music is firmly entrenched in the house and drum 'n' bass sounds of DJ culture, their musicianship augments their builds and breaks.’
    • ‘It is not easy to change entrenched attitudes and systems the way that most of these people have.’
    • ‘Unhealthy habits are entrenched in the lives of British children by the time they are 11 years old, world medical experts will be told this month.’
    • ‘One of the best ways to ensure that a group belief is entrenched indefinitely is to tie it to the identity of that group.’
    • ‘Today's experience has demonstrated just how entrenched that attitude is.’
    • ‘These two countries have technologically advanced industrial economies, and democracy is firmly entrenched in both.’
    • ‘It's a combination of guilt and a deeply entrenched gloomy outlook on life - both of which I'm trying to let go of, with varied success.’
    • ‘While the way you choose, cook and eat foods is shaped by family, religious and ethnic customs, these deeply entrenched habits can be modified over time.’
    • ‘The change is affecting long entrenched attitudes.’
    • ‘Much of this reaction was informed by the firmly entrenched cultural beliefs associated with these creatures.’
    • ‘To my astonishment I found a very entrenched belief in astrology, and other supernatural phenomena.’
    • ‘He is one of the rare authors who can change minds on a subject where opinions are firmly entrenched.’
    • ‘The effect of this ingenious recontextualisation was deeply unsettling, making us question some of our most entrenched beliefs on art and society.’
    • ‘When that habit is entrenched, tackle the next one.’
    • ‘When abusive behaviour is deeply entrenched in our communities it is not the material destitution, the social ills and historical legacy that fuel the abuse epidemics.’
    ingrained, established, well established, long-established
    establish, settle, ensconce, lodge, set, root, install, plant, embed, anchor, seat, station
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Establish (a person or their authority) in a position of great strength or security.
      ‘by 1947 de Gaulle's political opponents were firmly entrenched in power’
      • ‘But it entrenches executive control, providing presidential powers to veto legislation, dismiss governments, dissolve parliament, declare states of emergency and command the armed forces.’
      • ‘I think he's too entrenched in the system to be dynamic about trying to get out of it.’
      • ‘He removed entrenched ministers in favor of his own loyalists and installed a close aide in the office of the new prime minister.’
      • ‘The forces of reform and change, struggling to retain their unity, face a bitter and entrenched opponent in those who wish to fight such change, or at least deprive it of any meaningful content.’
      • ‘What has been predictable is that the media landscape has been changing dramatically, and in any highly dynamic environment entrenched players were never going to remain passive for long.’
      • ‘She was the most consistent of the performers, her consummate ease of delivery and pitch-perfect vocals entrenching her in the top position.’
      • ‘But the luxury of having all the right features comes only if you're so entrenched in the market that you can afford the R&D to do that.’
      • ‘If he follows through with his plans, he will simply be entrenching members of the old guard in positions of power within the party, and his mission to reform the party will come to nothing.’
      • ‘For years after, he kept telling me Chicago wanted me back, but I was fully entrenched in the life of crime then.’
      • ‘The twisted logic behind term limits is that they root out entrenched politicians who, if allowed, would cling onto elected office until hell actually freezes over.’
      • ‘As a first-term Republican congressman, he is solidly entrenched in the Washington, D.C., world of campaign finance.’
      • ‘A large majority could entrench him in his redistributive dugout, relentlessly harassing business and taxpayers.’
      • ‘To consolidate her dominion, it was natural for such women to turn to more violent methods to entrench their rule.’
      • ‘He is firmly entrenched in power, and has created such a climate of fear that there are few who are prepared to challenge him.’
      • ‘I am firmly entrenched in the middle class, from the balding, white-looking salesman demographic.’
      • ‘He is prepared to fight well entrenched politicians and their goondas to achieve his goal.’
      • ‘After some initial skirmishes, the company managed to entrench its rule, often through the authority of amenable local rulers.’
    2. 1.2 Apply extra legal safeguards to (a right, especially a constitutional right, guaranteed by legislation).
      • ‘Under the ACT Self Government Act, there is a possibility to entrench some laws, but the government here has decided not to take that route.’
      • ‘Indeed, they are actively entrenching legal barriers to such practice rather than liberalising regulations.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there's no reversing a factual error entrenched in legislation judicially.’
      • ‘The Constitution provides only a single method - the constitutional amendment process - to entrench a rule against repeal by a majority.’
      • ‘We look forward to amendments further down the track to expand and entrench this legislation.’
      • ‘It is entrenched only by reason of the Colonial Laws Validity Act.’
      • ‘Indeed, your Honours, it is more entrenched pursuant to section 75 than much of the jurisdiction under section 73.’
      • ‘This legal principle was entrenched during the Nuremberg prosecutions of Nazi war criminals after World War II.’
      • ‘He said legislation will entrench the increased size of the protected areas.’
      • ‘This legislation entrenches the system where private schools receive more government funding than the public education system.’
      • ‘Because this legislation, which entrenches the power of traditional leaders over their rural subjects, will make life infinitely worse for the 15 million overwhelmingly poor people who live in the former Bantustans.’
      • ‘Another test might be the serious pursuit of a Civil Service Act to entrench basic safeguards.’
      • ‘Is it not possible somehow to entrench the Bill, so that later legislation will not have this effect?’
      • ‘Does that mean that the provisions of the New South Wales Constitution Act entrenching the independence of the judiciary are ineffective?’
      • ‘They're constitutionally entrenched guarantees of certain rights that are enforceable in the courts.’
      • ‘The prohibition on discrimination on grounds of, inter alia, religious belief is entrenched in international human rights law.’
      • ‘There was no necessity to entrench them into legislation.’
      • ‘The need for a system which entrenches the independent regulation of politics and can quickly get to the truth of difficult questions has never been greater.’
      • ‘There are no common law rights entrenched here.’
      • ‘Taken together, this core legislation entrenched the suppression of wage rises and cuts to the public sector.’
  • 2with object Establish (a military force, camp, etc.) in trenches or other fortified positions.

    • ‘The enemy were on the hillsides above where they had landed, entrenched on the high ground.’
    • ‘Having entrenched themselves on the captured line the troops readied themselves for the next move.’
    • ‘Copied from a World War II German entrenching shovel, it had a folding steel blade.’
    • ‘Clausewitz observed that ‘if you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy to seek a solution elsewhere’.’
    • ‘Garrisons suggest a more entrenched military encampment, using tents rather than blankets.’
    • ‘The Jacobite forces were well entrenched and kept up a steady bombardment of the city, which shredded the defences inside the walls.’
    • ‘World War I saw the tank used to eliminate a stalemate between entrenched adversaries.’
    • ‘The first battle of the war took place in April, and the disease festered through the summer while the Continental Army was entrenched around the city.’
    • ‘Like Civil War soldiers ordered to charge an enemy entrenched on the high ground, the actors do their best, but are simply overwhelmed and wasted on a hopeless task.’
    • ‘Cope marched north from Stirling to intercept the Jacobite forces but found them entrenched on the Corrieyairack pass in an impregnable position and diverted instead to Inverness.’
    • ‘Their forces are entrenched very deep farther to the East.’
    • ‘The machine gun crew can entrench itself to lay down a massive wall of fire.’
    • ‘For now, his forces were entrenched safely, but if their luck started to turn, the platform would become a slaughterhouse.’
    • ‘The affair quickly escalated and colonial militia began to entrench themselves enthusiastically around Boston Harbour, overlooking the British garrison.’
    • ‘When pressing against an enemy entrenched on an individual height troops should act according to specific conditions: whether the approaches and the slopes at the front and flanks are easy of access.’
  • 3entrench on/uponarchaic no object Encroach or trespass on.

    • ‘I do not understand how anybody can feel that his or her feelings and beliefs are in any way entrenched upon by this bill.’
    • ‘I made it very clear I wasn't entrenching on anybody's independence and I don't think that anybody… could have drawn any other conclusion.’
    • ‘But I emphasise that in terms of the key features of the Reserve Bank, which are related to its single focus and its independence from Government control, this bill does not entrench upon those matters at all.’
    • ‘It is at the point where construction is necessary that we find out whether Chapter III entrenches on what the language otherwise authorises.’
    • ‘The case is quite different from that in which an outright owner of property finds that his ownership is entrenched upon by some outside intervention in the form of taxation.’
    butt into, barge into, pry into, nose into, be nosy about, intrude into, intervene in, get involved in, intercede in, encroach on, impinge on, impose oneself on
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘place within a trench’): from en-, in- ‘into’ + trench.