• tranche •
træntsh • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. Slice, piece cut off, a cut. 2. One of a series of installments of a larger unit, usually a loan, stock float, or investment.
Notes: Here is a word that is common in the financial vocabulary, but less often used in the general vocabulary. It may be used as a verb meaning "to split up a financial investment package into parts". Tranchette has been used in the sense of "small tranche" and tranchet, in the sense of various types of specialized knives and chisels.
In Play: In the world of high finance, today's Good Word bounces around in sentences like these: "The loan will be paid back in quarterly tranches" and "The stock will be issued in three tranches." However, it is available for other service: "Wikileaks published Hillary Clinton's stolen e-mail in tranches that appeared daily."
Word History: English borrowed this French word recently (the turn of the 20th century). French trancher means simply "to slice", so a tranche is simply "(a) slice". Trancher was trenchier in Old French. English borrowed it at that point for trench, which is the result of another kind of slicing. The Latin origin of the French seems to be truncare "to cut off, shorten". French inherited the noun from this word as tronc "(tree) trunk", a tree with all branches cut off. English borrowed this word, too, trunk. The past participle of truncare is truncatus, from which English created its verb truncate "to shorten". ("Thanks" goes today to Lew Jury for another tranche in a long series of Good Word suggestions.)
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