Etymology
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trenchant (adj.)

early 14c., "cutting, sharp," from Old French trenchant "cutting, sharp" (literal and figurative), present participle of trenchier "to cut" (see trench). Figurative sense in English is from c. 1600.

updated on February 16, 2014

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Definitions of trenchant from WordNet

trenchant (adj.)
having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought, expression, or intellect;
trenchant criticism
Synonyms: searching
trenchant (adj.)
characterized by or full of force and vigor;
a trenchant argument
Synonyms: hard-hitting
trenchant (adj.)
clearly or sharply defined to the mind;
trenchant distinctions between right and wrong
Synonyms: clear-cut / distinct
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.