trench-ênt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Sharp, to the point, aggressive, vigorous, and effective. 2. Sharply defined, clearly outlined, distinct.
Notes: The adverb for today's word is trenchantly and the noun, trenchancy. Don't worry about the trenches when using this word, the only pitfall to beware is the suffix -ant—always spelled with an A rather than an E.
In Play: This is a fine word to use amidst today's political problems: "Many are calling for trenchant measures to regain control of federal and state budgets." Unfortunately, no one in Washington has a trenchant plan that shows promise of success (meaning No. 2). Perhaps our use of this Good Word might spur law-makers to be more trenchant in their thinking. Think so?
Word History: Today's Good word comes from Old French, trenchant "cutting", the present participle of trenchier "to cut". This is the same root that gave us trench, a long cut in the ground. The original root in Proto-Indo-European, the ancient language from which most European languages developed, meant "to pass over", as a saw passes over what it cuts. That is why the Latin prefix trans- "across" also developed from the same root. (We must thank Dr. Lyn Laboriel for so trenchantly transmitting this very Good Word to us for our series.)
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