Definition of trenchant in English:



  • 1Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.

    ‘she heard angry voices, not loud, yet certainly trenchant’
    • ‘Neither was his crime to be caught expressing his trenchant views, even though that was a bit stupid.’
    • ‘However, only a few of the dozen-strong cast have the requisite style to make the parody trenchant instead of merely silly.’
    • ‘Members may recall that when the Parole Act and the Sentencing Act were first passed, there was trenchant criticism from the Court of Appeal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anyone expressing trenchant anti-monarchist views is now suspected of sympathising with Irish republicanism's most fanatical fringe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What makes his books so popular is that he presents what he does find in a singularly trenchant and forthright manner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A quiet and generally even tempered man, he could be and was trenchant in his criticisms as the occasion demanded.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In often trenchant language, he criticised the proposed development for being overly-commercial and entirely unacceptable for such a sensitive area.’
    • ‘The Bill passed its first reading easily, despite trenchant criticism from radicals who were angry about interference with the freedom of refugees.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In doing so, he subjects central tenets of modern economics to trenchant criticism.’
    • ‘The drama has many trenchant things to say about New Labour's obsession with style over substance.’
    incisive, cutting, pointed, piercing, penetrating, sharp, keen, acute, razor-sharp, razor-edged, rapier-like
    vigorous, forceful, strong, telling, emphatic, forthright, blunt
    biting, stinging, mordant, pungent, scathing, caustic, acid, tart, acerbic, astringent, sarcastic
    devastating, savage, fierce, searing, blistering, withering
    mordacious, acidulous
    View synonyms
  • 2literary, archaic (of a weapon or tool) having a sharp edge.

    ‘a trenchant blade’


Middle English ( trenchant): from Old French, literally cutting present participle of trenchier (see trench).