Definition of trough in US English:



  • 1A long, narrow open container for animals to eat or drink out of.

    ‘a water trough’
    • ‘The landscape was virtually empty except for an occasional horse, cluster of cattle, oil wells, and a small house with windmill and cattle drinking troughs.’
    • ‘With a view to helping the animals, the authorities repaired the existing water troughs and filled them with water.’
    • ‘The big bull was drinking from the trough this afternoon when a single sheep tried to get to the water.’
    • ‘‘The grass has become so dry that farmers are having to put out water troughs for cattle,’ the council spokesman said.’
    • ‘The use of lick wheel feeders allow for less feeder space required per animal than in interval feeding in open troughs.’
    • ‘The water in the trough needs to be changed every three days.’
    • ‘Fence off all rivers and streams and provide piped mains water to drinking troughs.’
    • ‘Once he was satisfied they were cooled, he led them to the water trough for a well-earned drink.’
    • ‘Grooming kits, buckets, water troughs and tack should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected daily.’
    • ‘Such species as love birds, parrots and doves are spending more time near the water trough and less on picking for food.’
    • ‘He waited patiently until the apple was eaten completely and he allowed the horse to drink from the trough again.’
    • ‘These animals come to the trough, as it is a major water source during dry seasons.’
    • ‘The company sells its beer in five- or 15-gallon kegs, a practice that avoids glass breakage and allows re-circulated water to irrigate its fields and fill animal troughs.’
    • ‘Farmers are asked to check all drinking troughs, sheds etc and all pipework running over ground.’
    • ‘The sheds were re-roofed to improve ventilation and the water troughs were also replaced.’
    • ‘All farmers in the area are asked to check drinking troughs for leakages as many householders in the scheme have little or no water.’
    • ‘The statue, with outspread wings and hands raised benevolently, was on a trough where horses drank before pulling their heavy loads up the hill.’
    • ‘If you use a hose to fill buckets or water troughs, never allow it to contact the container or the water inside: A contaminated hose can pass disease.’
    • ‘This was made from a split log, which sometimes reached a vast size; although anthropological studies have shown that the larger ones may have also been used to lay-out bodies, or as water troughs for animals.’
    • ‘He gathered the reins and led the animal to the water trough.’
    manger, feeding container, feed box, feeder, fodder rack, crib
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    1. 1.1 A long, narrow, open container for growing plants or mixing chemicals.
      • ‘He said the purpose of the flower troughs was to provide somewhere safe for children and other pedestrians to walk without having to step around parked cars and into the main road.’
      • ‘Once planted, top-dress the compost with stone chippings to keep water away from the necks of the plants and set the trough somewhere where you can enjoy it throughout the year.’
      • ‘Yesterday I planted out two troughs of leaf beet seedlings, which I've covered in fleece and put somewhere where they will get some shade this afternoon since it's set to be another scorcher.’
      • ‘Around their home, instead of a private garden, the Christies have planted beds and troughs to help show what plants might do over three or four years.’
      • ‘The trough is now underneath the trellis and each pea plant is tied into a cane which will guide them to the trellis as they start climbing.’
      • ‘Move bins and plant troughs, and cut back plants, which may all offer shelter to slugs, away from the door.’
      • ‘Each of the plants suggested will work well in a rock garden trough; their flowers and foliage contrasting beautifully with a gravel top dressing.’
      • ‘The windowsills were lined with them, green and brown and gray, growing in polished copper troughs.’
      • ‘Today I've checked on the intensive care plants and the new salad trough and they both looked good, so I brought them outside into the garden.’
      • ‘Congratulations to all the winners who walked away with some very handsome prizes which included garden seats, planting troughs and bird baths.’
      • ‘The top of each trough was insulated by sheets of polystyrofoam on which the plants were anchored.’
      • ‘Everybody's lives are so busy these days and most of us don't have the time to devote to a vegetable garden proper, but fresh herbs and salads can easily be grown in large pots and troughs.’
      • ‘Last Saturday I planted a small trough of mizuna seeds (to grow indoors), which are now healthy looking seedlings.’
      • ‘Remember, while dedicated rock gardens are good for medium to large gardens with lots of space, you can have just as much fun with the same plants grown in a salt-glazed trough or hollowed-out log round.’
      • ‘Rock and alpine plants have long been one of my favourite groups, and we've always made room for troughs and boxes containing a small range of alpines.’
      • ‘The result is a ‘living wall’ designed to look like the traditional version but with a soil-filled trough filled with climbing plants to eventually cover it.’
      • ‘This particular daffodil is a miniature type planted in a sheltered east facing trough fixed below the kitchen window.’
      • ‘Sometimes I add extra leaf mould for heath or moisture-loving plants, or seaside sand for coastal plants in a trough.’
    2. 1.2 A channel used to convey a liquid.
      • ‘This volume would be reduced further if rainwater was collected and piped into troughs.’
      • ‘He crawled up out of the sludge that filled the center trough of the sewer tunnel.’
      • ‘There is a little moat, a shallow trough of water, all along the front lip of the stage.’
      • ‘We installed float valves and shut-off valves so I can clean the troughs or drain the system in winter if necessary.’
      • ‘Inside, the spring runs the length of the building in a wooden trough.’
      • ‘Water would descend through bronze clouds onto the figure of a drum-beating and dancing wizard and then drain into the trough below.’
      • ‘From this tank, water was routed to the streets through channels and collected by the people from square troughs or basins called karanjis at convenient points.’
      • ‘Therefore, such models were tested in a curved wooden trough.’
      • ‘The entire area can be hosed out with the water and dirt draining into a trough behind the rear seats.’
      • ‘Among the small channels and troughs in the rocks, iceberg fragments were washing back and forth.’
      • ‘Behind our neighborhood, originating in the native compounds, were endless sewer troughs - a spider web of two-foot wide canals that diverted water from rivers and streams.’
      • ‘Channeling of water down the fin by troughs or rubber channels does not appear to improve thrust or economy.’
      • ‘Install proper eave troughs and downspouts on poultry houses to carry rain water far away from the buildings.’
      channel, conduit, trench, ditch, gully, drain, culvert, cut, flume, gutter, furrow, groove, depression
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    3. 1.3 A long hollow in the earth's surface.
      ‘a vast glacial trough’
      • ‘Mature alpine landscapes exhibit many of the ‘classic’ features of glaciation, including troughs, hanging valleys, truncated spurs, and narrow arêtes rising to narrow rock peaks.’
      • ‘Extrusive igneous activity dominates the northwestern flank of the trough.’
      • ‘Most of today's estuaries formed because the sea level has slowly risen during the last 18,000 years, drowning river valleys and filling in glacial troughs.’
      • ‘The diminution of marl seam thicknesses over positive structural elements and the development of phosphatic chalks in localized troughs are two such features.’
      • ‘The trough in the Bouguer anomaly at 1.2 km distance along the profile is located at the head of Lochranza, which is the offshore continuation of the U-shaped glacial valley of Glen Chalmadale.’
      hollow, indentation, dent, dint, cavity, concavity, dip, pit, hole, pothole, sink, sinkhole, excavation, crater
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    4. 1.4 An elongated region of low atmospheric pressure.
      • ‘The weather systems responsible for transporting heat and moisture towards Antarctica have their origins in the midlatitudes of the Southern Hemisphere or in the circumpolar trough of low pressure.’
      • ‘As this trough moves northeast of Nebraska, high pressure will build back into the central United States.’
      • ‘Sometimes you hear television weathermen refer to a negative tilt trough and how it is going to spawn an intense storm.’
      • ‘The procession of temperate cyclonic vortices continues unabated and their northerly troughs, the cold fronts, progress in tandem.’
      • ‘The cold front sequence of the past week received a boost as the upper trough introduced moister air, the necessary convergence was amply present and light rain ensued.’
      • ‘Well, mainly it's going to pick up the pace because of that trough of low pressure, that cold front.’
      • ‘Each trough of low pressure had an upper air extension.’
      • ‘For instance, a trough can dip down into the tropics to bring high-altitude winds blowing from the West.’
      • ‘A trough is an elongated area of low atmospheric pressure that can occur either at the Earth's surface or at higher altitudes.’
      • ‘The change was due to a rather insignificant cold front and upper trough crossing the western sub-continent and shifting whatever lay ahead of it eastwards.’
      • ‘The afternoon of 2 February 1918 was humid and unsettled in Melbourne, with a slow-moving low pressure trough crossing Victoria.’
      • ‘For example, meteorologists use abstract structures such as isobars, pressure troughs, and pressure cells to reason about the underlying pressure data at a higher level of abstraction.’
      • ‘The increase in precipitation resulted from an upper air trough situated over the Great Basin region of the Rocky Mountains.’
      • ‘This enables the cold front and trough of lower pressure to create their own weather patterns with no interference from the settled anticyclonic weather zone.’
      • ‘The trade winds from both hemispheres converge towards the doldrums and a zone of low pressure, the equatorial trough, that girdles the earth.’
      • ‘In southwestern Australia, the hottest conditions are normally associated with low pressure troughs that direct east to northeasterly winds from the hot interior.’
      • ‘In the record year of 1923-24 the monsoon trough stayed well north, and the season was notable for its lack of cyclone activity.’
      • ‘After five days of sunshine at the beginning of the month, the sixth saw overcast skies and rain as the result of a trough of low pressure.’
      • ‘The subtropical highs move from west to east across southern Australia in winter, and further south in summer, usually separated by low pressure troughs or cold fronts.’
      • ‘The area west of the trough line lies under the control of the anticyclone away to the west.’
    5. 1.5 A hollow between two wave crests in the sea.
      • ‘Eventually he snatches the trailer from the sea, carefully timed with the trough of the wave.’
      • ‘Our depth sounder, which had read a steady 15 feet the day before, was now vacillating between 10 feet in the troughs and 20 on the crests of the waves.’
      • ‘Now, Hawaiian surf officially is measured by estimating the actual height between the crest and the trough of the breaking waves.’
      • ‘Even on a smaller ship this can be witnessed by the crew as the Bowpost and Sternposts move out of alignment as the ship ripples forwards over the peaks and troughs of the waves.’
      • ‘If the trough of the tsunami wave reaches the coast first, this causes a phenomenon called drawdown, where it appears that sea level has dropped considerably.’
      • ‘Yet they willingly sail those barges out into the ocean, spending weeks on end slamming down into the troughs of waves and heaving their way up the next crest to do it again.’
      • ‘The bands of brown water are high concentrations of cells which have accumulated in the troughs of internal waves.’
      • ‘The sail sped southward, disappearing at times as it descended into the trough of the huge Atlantic waves, but advancing all the time towards the entrance of Grenville Channel.’
      • ‘As she spoke, her giant trimaran was climbing great walls of rolling water and then blasting down into the troughs between waves on her 21st day at sea.’
      • ‘Upward displacements in one area are approximately balanced by downward displacements elsewhere, because Earth is close to incompressible, so the wave troughs are as important as the crests.’
      • ‘The captive wave places so much drag on the hull that it cannot climb up the wave's back and move ahead of it; the vessel sinks into the trough between crests.’
      • ‘The wave's crests and troughs push and pull the thin metal or plastic back and forth.’
      • ‘Suddenly, lightning lit the sky, revealing that beneath me was a sea of green, with waves and troughs, rises and dips that swayed in the wind like boiling water.’
      • ‘If you wait until you are in the trough of the wave before you throw the blunt you will lose all momentum and will not be able to clean spin out of it without washing off of the wave.’
      • ‘Satellite sensors imaged the resulting pattern of crests and troughs into the series of tsunami waves that devastated coastal areas throughout parts of the Indian Ocean.’
      • ‘While much of the California coast saw breakers in the six to eight-foot range, the faces of the bigger waves at Cortes were well over 35 feet from trough to crest.’
      • ‘Deep troughs do precede these monster waves, swallowing ships as they careen into the trough and are entombed by thousands of tons of water from the breaking wave.’
      • ‘The bow of this collapsing dome of water would become a giant wave, but also, as the landslide continued to move underwater, a series of crests and troughs would soon generate the ‘wave train’ of the tsunami.’
      • ‘After the wave comes the trough, where the sea level drops below normal and the water dumped on land pours back to the sea.’
      • ‘In most cases, the crests and troughs of the light waves do not align with each other, and destructive interference causes these waves to cancel each other out.’
    6. 1.6Mathematics A region around the minimum on a curve of variation of a quantity.
      • ‘Settlement troughs both over single and twin tunnels (when symmetric) can often be described by a Gaussian curve.’
      • ‘The crest of the undulation on the inside of the wall coincides with the trough of the Gaussian vault.’
      • ‘This paper deals with the development of probability density functions applicable for peaks, troughs and peak-to-trough excursions of a non-Gaussian random process where the response of a non-linear system is represented in the form of Volterra's second-order functional series.’
    7. 1.7 A point of low activity, achievement, or satisfaction.
      ‘learning a language is a series of peaks and troughs’
      • ‘There are peaks and troughs with any job I suppose; times of year when we don't have time to stop and think, and other times when that's all there is to do.’
      • ‘Statistics for the site's usage not only give an insight into mass-market enthusiasms over the year, but also chart fascinating daily peaks and troughs.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman said there was only an ongoing review of operating requirements in the light of seasonal peaks and troughs in demand for chocolate.’
      • ‘Overtime is not about putting your oar in when there's a deadline; it has become part of the structural response of British manufacturing to the peaks and troughs of demand.’
      • ‘A diversity of customers helps business through the peaks and troughs throughout the year.’
      • ‘By not investing all the funds at once, the peaks and troughs of the stockmarket can be avoided.’
      • ‘We have to run effectively and deal with the peaks and troughs.’
      • ‘He recalls many peaks and troughs over the years.’
      • ‘The with-profits version aims to smooth out stock market peaks and troughs by holding back some investment returns in good years to support payouts in bad years.’
      • ‘One of the best features of this type of product is that with-profits bonds ‘smooth out’ the peaks and troughs of the stock market.’
      • ‘Historically, we've had smaller peaks and troughs in production and our way of working gives us a lot of flexibility.’
      • ‘One solution being offered was to ‘annualise’ working hours to average out peaks and troughs in demand.’
      • ‘Our cultural peaks and troughs have followed the celebration or denigration of nature.’
      • ‘The plan would involve making 20 short-term posts permanent as well as taking on extra part-time staff to cope with peaks and troughs of demand.’
      • ‘The key is that it helps to balance the peaks and troughs in demand.’
      • ‘While water turbine manufacturing was the core business, it was a cyclical operation that experienced peaks and troughs and the firm diversified into other areas, from selling cars to producing can-making machinery.’
      • ‘And many would prefer the hard evidence of historical performance over more than a century of peaks and troughs to any amount of stochastic modelling which attempts to simulate market conditions.’
      • ‘The spokesman said: ‘We have seen some acute cases coming into Accident and Emergency, but other than that, there are always peaks and troughs, often for no apparent reason.’’
      • ‘This has created bigger peaks and troughs in port activity.’
      • ‘The main attraction of with profit bonds - which smooth out the peaks and troughs of an increasingly volatile stockmarket - has always been their inherent stability.’


Old English trog, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch trog and German Trog, also to tree.