If you're trenchant, it means you think or say smart, sharply worded things that cut right to the heart of the matter. A trenchant observation is one that makes people scratch their chins thoughtfully, or wince with embarrassment for whomever you're talking about, or both.

  • Pronunciation: / 'trɛntʃənt/
  • English Description: having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high degree
  • Chinese Translation: 犀利的(xi1 li4 de)
  • Spanish Translation: mordaz
  • STORY: The word trenchant originates from tranchant, which in French means "sharp" or "cutting," and it's related to the word trench, which originally meant a line carved in wood and later came to mean a ditch carved into the earth. The word is often used to describe political commentary or cultural criticism. One person known for her trenchant wit was the author and critic Mary McCarthy, who once said of the writer Lillian Hellman, "Every word she writes is a lie, including the 'and' and the 'the'."


  • That letter would become the preface to Baldwin's trenchant examination of American racism, "The Fire Next Time.".
  • It’s such a trenchant vision of American aristocracy that copies should be printed on Crane stationery and delivered by a white-gloved chauffeur.

*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in