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Trenchant   Listen
adjective
Trenchant  adj.  
1.
Fitted to trench or cut; gutting; sharp. " Trenchant was the blade."
2.
Fig.: Keen; biting; severe; as, trenchant wit.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Trenchant" Quotes from Famous Books



... was always in a better temper when he had been talking to Angela. He did most of the talking—it must be owned that he liked to hear himself talk—and she made a perfect listener. He, in turn, amused and interested her very much. She had never come across a man of his type before. His trenchant criticisms of literature, his keen delight in politics, his lively argumentativeness, were charming to her. He had always had the knack of quarrelling with Elizabeth, even when he was most devoted to her; but he did not quarrel with Angela. She quieted ...
— Under False Pretences - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... breadth and richness of culture manifested in her allusions or quotations, her easy comprehension of new views, her just discrimination, and, above all, her truthfulness. "Truth at all cost," was plainly her ruling maxim. This it was that made her criticism so trenchant, her contempt of pretence so quick and stern, her speech so naked in frankness, her gaze so searching, her whole attitude so alert. Her estimates of men, books, manners, events, art, duty, destiny, were ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. II • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... height of pity, despair, and terror to which the ballad strains of Scotland have reached, what master of modern realism has surpassed in trenchant and uncompromising power the passages in ...
— The Balladists - Famous Scots Series • John Geddie

... in you, Mary!" said Mrs. Scudder,—giving vent to herself in one of those trenchant shorthand expressions wherein positive natures incline to sum up everything, if they must ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 4, No. 24, Oct. 1859 • Various

... remember, too, that there is such a thing as turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. The German proverb that the best things may become the worst, is along the same line; but it is commonplace compared with the trenchant words of Jude. According to him, even "grace" may become "lasciviousness." We have there a solemn warning. It does seem to me that really worthy thoughts of God are not compatible with the idea ...
— Love's Final Victory • Horatio

... the blade of the finest Damascus steel, the hilt of agate enriched with precious stones, and the guard of gold. De Vera drew it, and smiled grimly as he noticed the admirable temper of the blade. "His Majesty has given me a trenchant weapon," said he: "I trust a time will come when I may show him that I know how to use his royal present." The reply was considered a compliment, of course: the bystanders little knew the bitter ...
— Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada • Washington Irving

... insensate communication, that a psychic moment may or may not, in accordance with what under no circumstances could be termed irrelevancy, become warily regarded as a coherent symbol by one obviously of a trenchant humor. But, however, in proof of a smouldering discretion, no feature is entitled to less exorbitant honor than ...
— Ptomaine Street • Carolyn Wells

... [Sidenote: Korting] Still more trenchant is the conclusion of Korting in his Geschichte des griechischen und rAmischen Theaters (P. 218 ff.): "Die neue attische KomAdie und folglich auch ihr Abklatsch, die romische Palliata, war nicht ein Lustspiel im hAchsten, ...
— The Dramatic Values in Plautus • William Wallace Blancke

... cousin; he was the accomplished secretary of a man who governed his estate shrewdly and diligently, but had been once or twice unlucky in his judgements pronounced from the magisterial bench as a justice of the Peace, on which occasions a half column of trenchant English supported by an apposite classical quotation impressed Sir Willoughby with the value of such a secretary in a controversy. He had no fear of that fiery dragon of scorching breath—the newspaper press—while Vernon was his right hand man; and as he ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... the cakes out of the bake-kettle, will you?' said Mary; 'and if them ducks be raw, 'tain't my fault, remember.' She was evidently a woman of few words, but trenchant. ...
— Cedar Creek - From the Shanty to the Settlement • Elizabeth Hely Walshe

... confused ideas; of a feeble and clouded or of a vigorous but unfixed and chaotic intellect.... Now if there is any great quality more perceptible than another in Mr. Browning's intellect it is his decisive and incisive faculty of thought, his sureness and intensity of perception, his rapid and trenchant resolution of aim.... The very essence of Mr. Browning's aim and method, as exhibited in the ripest fruits of his intelligence, is such as implies above all other things the possession of a quality the very opposite of obscurity—a faculty of spiritual illumination rapid and ...
— Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning • Robert Browning

... has fairly taken its bent to authority and philanthropy, and laid the least touch on private property, the days of the independent journal are numbered. State railways may be good things and so may State bakeries; but a State newspaper will never be a very trenchant critic ...
— Lay Morals • Robert Louis Stevenson

... sovereigns who met at Aix-la-Chapelle is one of the most trenchant indictments that has ever been penned. Its logic, its brave, though courteous, appeal for justice and magnanimity, and above all the echo of motherly love which characterises it, stamp it as a document worth ...
— The Tragedy of St. Helena • Walter Runciman

... By Order of the Czar Mr. JOSEPH HATTON exposes the cruelties of Muscovite rule in the most trenchant yet entertaining fashion. The headings to the chapters (to say nothing of their contents) are exciting to a degree, and consequently it is not altogether surprising that the Russian officials, possibly hearing that ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, May 3, 1890. • Various

... Crayon made many further suggestions about the points of the despatch, but they admitted ingenuously that they were not able to write, that they possessed no literary and effective style, that it would be for Mr. Churchill to clothe their crude thoughts—that is, if he approved of them—in trenchant phrase and ...
— The Candidate - A Political Romance • Joseph Alexander Altsheler

... nature inclined him to trenchant measures, and he had nothing of modern humanitarianism; but he was not inhuman, and he shrank from the cruelty of forcing whole communities into exile. While Knowles and others called for wholesale expatriation, he still held that it was possible ...
— A Half-Century of Conflict, Volume II • Francis Parkman

... I begin here to tread on ground in which trenchant distinctions may easily seem to mutilate ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... Peter, watching his opportunity, aimed a blow enough to cleave his adversary to the very chine; but Risingh, nimbly raising his sword, warded it off so narrowly, that, glancing on one side, it shaved away a huge canteen in which he carried his liquor,—thence pursuing its trenchant course, it severed off a deep coat-pocket, stored with bread and cheese,—which provant, rolling among the armies, occasioned a fearful scrambling between the Swedes and Dutchmen, and made the general battle to wax more ...
— Washington Irving • Charles Dudley Warner

... that making slide apart Their dusk wing-cases, all beneath there burns A jewelled harness, ere they pass and fly. So Gareth ere he parted flashed in arms. Then as he donned the helm, and took the shield And mounted horse and graspt a spear, of grain Storm-strengthened on a windy site, and tipt With trenchant steel, around him slowly prest The people, while from out of kitchen came The thralls in throng, and seeing who had worked Lustier than any, and whom they could but love, Mounted in arms, threw up their caps and cried, 'God bless the King, and all his fellowship!' And ...
— Idylls of the King • Alfred, Lord Tennyson

... as he was, the Cardinal nevertheless still hesitated. To him, though the sayings and opinions of the famous "Gys Grandit" were not exactly new, there was something terrible in hearing him utter them with such bold and trenchant meaning. He sighed, and appeared lost in thought; till Manuel touched him ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... caught their eye were several French soldiers who were acting as inspection guard over several rooms, having stacked their muskets in one corner. Their exclamations of delight or sorrow, their criticisms of the art panoramic, in short, were full of humor and trenchant fun. But 'the explanator' was before them; where he came from they could not see, for his footsteps were light as velvet, evidently having 'gums' on his feet; his milk-white hair, parted in the middle of his forehead, hung down his back for a couple of feet, while his milk-white beard, hanging ...
— Continental Monthly - Volume 1 - Issue 3 • Various

... thrust from his fine rapier; but they are such follies, for the most part, as everybody condemns. By reason of this quality in him, he avoids strongly controverted points in history; or, if his course lies over them, he gives a fairly adjusted average of opinion; he is not in mood for trenchant assertions of this or that belief. This same quality, again, makes him shun political life. He has a horror of its wordy wars, its flood of objurgation. Not that he is without opinions, calmly formed, and ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864 • Various

... Thomas M. Browne, Indiana; Moses A. McCoid, Iowa. It is one of the keenest, clearest expositions of the absurdity of the objections against woman suffrage that ever has been made, and ends with this trenchant paragraph: ...
— The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 2 of 2) • Ida Husted Harper

... policy of your postponing them for a session to give time to form an Irish Party, to assist the Ministry, if willing; to urge them on, if lagging; in procuring justice for Ireland." O'Connell replied in a letter, rich with the vigorous trenchant logic of his very best days. He reviews the many attempts made, at various times, to form an Irish party, all of which ended in unmitigated failure. His answer to Lord Miltown, therefore is, that he cannot comply with his request—he cannot consent to postpone, even for an ...
— The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) - With Notices Of Earlier Irish Famines • John O'Rourke

... with square shoulders and standing; eyes of deep gray, and couchant, as if ready to spring at the least rustling, dauntless yet kindly; his hair shooting backward from low down on his forehead; nose trenchant and Romanesque; set lips, his voice suppressed yet metallic, suggesting deep reserves; decided mouth; the countenance and frame ...
— The Negro and the Nation - A History of American Slavery and Enfranchisement • George S. Merriam

... present day a new form of literature has sprung up; that dialogue (the easiest form of writing) is overdone, and description dispenses with any need for thinking on the part of the author or reader. You bring up the fiction of Voltaire, Diderot, Sterne, and Le Sage, so trenchant, so compact of the stuff of life; and turn from them to the modern novel, composed of scenery and word-pictures and metaphor and the dramatic situations, of which Scott is full. Invention may be ...
— A Distinguished Provincial at Paris • Honore de Balzac

... literature of his generation, and possibly also on its manners, for it is quite conceivable that one reason why his descriptions of snobbery and shams appear to us now overdrawn, may be that his trenchant blows at social idols did materially discredit the worship of them. His literary style had the usual following of imitators who caught his superficial form and missed the substance, as, for example, in the ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... the Marshal a capitulation with the honours of war, which the Minister—for the furtherance of our political ends—had consented to accord to him." He hurried expectant to Ferrieres; there to be summarily disillusioned. Bismarck gave him an interview on the 28th, and crushed him in a few trenchant sentences:— ...
— Camps, Quarters, and Casual Places • Archibald Forbes

... me rather say, with which the patron gradually breaks the spirit of his dependants. I know myself of an orator, a very free speaker, who was actually ordered to stand up and deliver a speech at table; and a masterly speech it was, trenchant and terse. He received the congratulations of the company on being timed by a wine—instead of a water-clock; and this affront, it is said, he was content to put up, for the consideration of 8 pounds. But what of that? Wait till you get a patron who has poetical or historical ...
— Works, V2 • Lucian of Samosata

... interest. It was on the fatal field of Ponte Nuovo. Napoleon doubtless came there in the spirit of true hero-worship. But hero-worship which can stand the strain of actual converse is rare indeed, especially when the expectant devotee is endowed with keen insight and habits of trenchant expression. One phrase has come down to us as a result of the interview; but this phrase contains a volume of meaning. After Paoli had explained the disposition of his troops against the French at Ponte Nuovo, ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... of chance,' as Keats called the grace of God? I began again to mumble the lines of my guide-book, and found them rather bare and dry. I looked up at the vast tapering walls. Why was there no script there? After all, that trenchant argument outweighed a many arguments; it scaled up like Brennus's sword, and made for a clear issue. I looked at the sleeping carriers. Did they hold the secret, not in tradition, not in history, ...
— Cinderella in the South - Twenty-Five South African Tales • Arthur Shearly Cripps

... remember that on one occasion, when I had read to the Society an essay on "The Incoherence of Empiricism," I looked forward with some little anxiety to his criticisms; and when they came I felt that my anxiety had not been superfluous; he "went for" the weak points of my argument in half-a-dozen trenchant sentences, of which I shall not forget the impression. It was hard hitting, ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley - A Character Sketch • Leonard Huxley

... growing desire that finds expression frequently in the newspapers for Kitchener's translation from Calcutta to the War Office in London, from whence the British army as a whole might profit by the trenchant efforts of the Irish soldier who has seldom blundered. As commander in India Lord Kitchener is paid a lakh of rupees a year—$32,000, and heads an army of 242,000 men—77,000 ...
— East of Suez - Ceylon, India, China and Japan • Frederic Courtland Penfield

... having some work looked over by Father Payne, who had been somewhat trenchant. "You have been beating a broken drum, you know," he had said, ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... princes of Albany, Whose trenchant blades with our deceased sire, Passing the frontiers of brave Graecia, Were bathed in our enemies' lukewarm blood, Now is the time to manifest your wills, Your haughty minds and resolutions. Now opportunity is offered To try your courage and your earnest zeal, ...
— 2. Mucedorus • William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]

... shrewd knock. 'A piece of business had been neglected.' He heard these words in his father's trenchant voice, and trembled, and then dodged the thought. After all, who was to know? He must carry four hundred pounds about with him till Monday, when the neglect could be surreptitiously repaired; and meanwhile, he was ...
— Tales and Fantasies • Robert Louis Stevenson

... suggestion as to the cause of the gradual modification of species—effort excited by change of conditions—was, on the face of it, inapplicable to the whole vegetable world. I do not think that any impartial judge who reads the Philosophie Zoologique now, and who afterwards takes up Lyell's trenchant and effective criticism (published as far back as 1830) will be disposed to allot to Lamarck a much higher place in the establishment of biological evolution than that which Bacon assigns to himself in relation to physical ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work • P. Chalmers Mitchell

... disciple, who had counted it an honour to be allowed to carry a sword before his master, stood forth immediately to wield the spiritual sword which had fallen from the master's grasp, and to wield it with a vigour and trenchant execution superior even ...
— The Scottish Reformation - Its Epochs, Episodes, Leaders, and Distinctive Characteristics • Alexander F. Mitchell

... important poet of that era, Judah Leib Gordon (1830-1892), who began by composing biblical epics and moralistic fables, soon entered the field of "intellectual poetry," and became the champion of enlightenment and a trenchant critic of old-fashioned Jewish life. As far back as 1863, while active as a teacher at a Crown school [1] in Lithuania, he composed his "Marseillaise of Enlightenment" (Hakitzah 'ammi, "Awake, My People"). In it he sang of the sun shedding its rays over the "Land of Eden," ...
— History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. Volume II • S.M. Dubnow

... beautiful to see how Dr. Upround, firmly delivering his text, and stoutly determined to spare nobody, even insisted in the present case upon looking at the man he meant to hit, because he was not his parishioner. The sermon was eloquent, and even trenchant. The necessity of duties was urged most sternly; if not of directly Divine institution (though learned parallels were adduced which almost proved them to be so), yet to every decent Christian citizen they were synonymous with duty. To defy or elude them, for the sake of paltry gain, was a dark crime ...
— Mary Anerley • R. D. Blackmore

... denied them, that if I made any difficulty, they would all come and cut my throat in the shippe. Thus was I constrained to signe their Passe-port, and forthwith to grant them certaine mariners, with Trenchant an honest and skilfull Pilot. When the barks were finished, they armed them with the kings munition, with powder, with bullets, and artillery, asmuch as they needed, and chose one of my Sergeants ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of - the English Nation. Vol. XIII. America. Part II. • Richard Hakluyt

... before her instant: what was she to do? It was all very well to say that her brother was a laird himself: it was all very well to speak of casual intermarriages and to count cousinship, like Auntie Kirstie. The difference in their social station was trenchant; propriety, prudence, all that she had ever learned, all that she knew, bade her flee. But on the other hand the cup of life now offered to her was too enchanting. For one moment, she saw the question clearly, and definitely made her choice. She stood up and showed ...
— Weir of Hermiston • Robert Louis Stevenson

... had certainly increased as the little grey politician denounced the witlessness of the working-class, and when they howled at him, went on to expound a trenchant doctrine of universal Responsibility, which preceded the universal Suffrage that was to come. Much of what he said was drowned in uproar. It had become clear that his opinions revolted the majority of his hearers even more than they did the two ladies. So outraged were the sensibilities ...
— The Convert • Elizabeth Robins

... rang down from the ridge, splitting the air, strong and trenchant, the fiery, shrill challenge ...
— The Heritage of the Desert • Zane Grey

... House. But what was the contemporary significance of these resolutions? As the news of them swept from colony to colony, why did they so stir men's hearts to excitement, and even to alarm? It was not that the language of those resolutions was more radical or more trenchant than had been the language already used on the same subject, over and over again, in the discussions of the preceding twelve months. It was that, in the recent change of the political situation, the significance of that language had changed. Prior to the time referred ...
— Patrick Henry • Moses Coit Tyler

... and quite compatible with easy and even cordial manners, and an address always considerate even when not sympathetic. He was not a loud or a long talker, but his terse remarks were full of taste and a just appreciation of things. If they were sometimes trenchant, the blade was of fine temper. Old Mr. Ferrars was there and the Viscountess Edgware. His hair had become quite silvered, and his cheek rosy as a December apple. His hazel eyes twinkled with satisfaction as he remembered the family had now produced two privy ...
— Endymion • Benjamin Disraeli

... Hamlet told his guilty mother that he would set her up a glass where she might see the inmost part of her, he was doing for his mother what Shakespeare in Measure for Measure is doing for the lust-spotted world. The play is a trenchant satire on the evils of society. Such realistic pictures of the things that are, but should not be, have always jarred on our aesthetic sense from Aristophanes to Zola, and Measure for Measure is one of the most disagreeable of Shakespeare's ...
— An Introduction to Shakespeare • H. N. MacCracken

... destructive that it should be of the utmost concern to Haeckel's friends to refute it. Since they are unable to do so, they content themselves with references to Loofs' caustic style, which he should indeed have avoided. There are, nevertheless, cases in which one must employ trenchant phraseology, and Haeckel himself has given an occasion for it; a dignified style is simply out of the question in his case. Haeckel extricated himself with even greater ease, by declaring that he had "neither time ...
— At the Deathbed of Darwinism - A Series of Papers • Eberhard Dennert

... so bitter, that they presented a bar to that preferment which Swift might otherwise have obtained. He appears at this time to have cared little for public opinion, except that it should fear his trenchant wit and do ...
— English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History - Designed as a Manual of Instruction • Henry Coppee

... and to thrust him towards the Assyrian frontier, where the king's troops would be able to capture him. His offer was not accepted, and a second embassy, headed by Tammaritu, who was once more in favour, arrived to propose more trenchant terms. The Elamite might have gone so far as to grant the extradition of Nabo-bel-shumi, but if he had yielded the point concerning Nana, a rebellion would have broken out in the streets of Susa: he preferred war, and prepared in ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 8 (of 12) • G. Maspero

... Seaton "conversed" with me. She merely scattered trenchant remarks and now and then twinkled a baited question over my head. But her face was like a dense and involved accompaniment to her talk. She presently dropped the "Mr.," to my intense relief, and called ...
— The Best British Short Stories of 1922 • Edward J. O'Brien and John Cournos, editors

... all events, was not so "perplexed" that he feared to speak his mind in the pulpit. In Lent, 1553, preaching before the boy king, he denounced his ministers in trenchant historical parallels between them and Achitophel, Shebna, and Judas. Later, young Mr. Mackail, applying the same method to the ministers of Charles II., was hanged. "What wonder is it then," said Knox, "that a young and innocent king be deceived by crafty, covetous, wicked, ...
— John Knox and the Reformation • Andrew Lang

... first hot as fire, then cold as ice, rushed over Gale when he saw Rojas take the trail toward Mercedes's hiding-place. The little bandit appeared to have the sure-footedness of a mountain sheep. The Mexican following was not so sure or fast. He turned back. Gale heard the trenchant bark of the .405. Ladd was kneeling. He shot again—again. The retreating bandit seemed to run full into an invisible obstacle, then fell lax, inert, lifeless. Rojas sped on unmindful of the spurts ...
— Desert Gold • Zane Grey

... and knights of romance. His antagonists came on with infinite zeal and fury, discharged their ill-aimed blows on every side, and exhausted their strength in violent and ineffectual rage. But the keen and trenchant blade of Dryden never makes a thrust in vain, and never strikes but at a vulnerable point. This, we have elsewhere remarked, is a peculiar attribute of his satire;[24] and it is difficult for one assailed on a single ludicrous ...
— The Dramatic Works of John Dryden Vol. I. - With a Life of the Author • Sir Walter Scott

... underbred—if not dissipated— clergy; and though there were grand exceptions, they were only respected as men; faith in the whole system, as a system, was destroyed. Bishop Phillpotts, coming down on such elements as these, was, in spite of his soundness of faith and grand trenchant force of character, better as a warrior than as a shepherd, and the controversial and political sides of his character, though invaluable to the Church, did not recommend him to the affections of the people ...
— Life of John Coleridge Patteson • Charlotte M. Yonge

... between these three families are trenchant and easily remembered. The Ericae {207} are all quatrefoils, and quatrefoils of the most studied and accomplished symmetry; and they bear no berries, but only dry seeds. The Myrtillae and Aurorae are both Cinqfoil; but ...
— Proserpina, Volume 1 - Studies Of Wayside Flowers • John Ruskin

... is the bloody eagle, with the trenchant blade, graven on the back of Sigmund's slayer. No son of king, who the earth reddens, and the raven gladdens, ...
— The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson • Saemund Sigfusson and Snorre Sturleson

... belonging to the superior tribes. They are not so warlike and loyal as the Mundurucus, although resembling them in many respects, nor have they the slender figures, dignified mien, and gentle disposition of the Passes; there are, however, no trenchant points of difference to distinguish them from these highest of all the tribes. Both men and women are tattooed, the pattern being sometimes a scroll on each cheek, but generally rows of short straight lines on the face. Most of the older people wear ...
— The Naturalist on the River Amazons • Henry Walter Bates

... late at a recitation in school or college. In court, in congress, in society, he was equally punctual. So, amid the cares and distractions of a singularly busy life, Horace Greeley managed to be on time for every appointment. Many a trenchant paragraph for the Tribune was written while the editor was waiting for men of ...
— The True Citizen, How To Become One • W. F. Markwick, D. D. and W. A. Smith, A. B.

... eyes read her through, as so often. With a trenchant dart he glanced from her to me. I could see he began to suspect a confederacy. "That will do," he went on, with slow deliberateness. "Better so. Nurse Wade, I don't know what's beginning to come over you. ...
— Hilda Wade - A Woman With Tenacity Of Purpose • Grant Allen

... account for the apparent lethargy of the Suffrage Association during the years of 1877-78. Caroline F. Corbin dealt an effective blow in her novel, entitled "Rebecca; or, A Woman's Secret." Jane Grey Swisshelm, with trenchant pen, wrote earnest strictures against the shams of society. Elizabeth Holt Babbitt wrote earnestly for all reform movements. Myra Bradwell persistently held up to the view of the legislators of the State the injustice of the laws for woman. Mrs. Julia Mills ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... of serious and earnest discussion of the pressing problems now close at hand. Brevard, a short, spare man, editor of the recently-suppressed "San Francisco Revolutionist" and now in hiding, made a few trenchant remarks, from time to time. Grantham and his wife, both active speakers on the "Underground Circuit" and both under sentence of long imprisonment, said little. Most of the conversation was between Catherine, Craig and Gabriel. Long before the supper was done, ...
— The Air Trust • George Allan England

... the past. Burke's does the same, by the general principles he extracts from, and by the poetry with which he gilds, the rubbish. And so does Churchill, by the weighty sense, the vigorous versification, the inextinguishable spirit, and the trenchant satire and invective of his song. The wretched intrigues of Newcastle and Bute, the squabbles of the aldermen and councillors of the day, the petty quarrels of petty patriots among themselves, and the poverty, spites, and frailties of forgotten players, are all shown as in a magnifying-glass, ...
— Poetical Works • Charles Churchill

... Ruthlessly trenchant fellow, wordy pedagogue, meddlesome theorist, you seek the limits of your mind. They are at the ...
— Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary • Voltaire

... completion of the organization the Committee on Resolutions made their report through Mr. Henry J. Raymond. The platform upon which it had unanimously agreed was a trenchant and powerful declaration of policy. Its tone was elevated, its expression was direct and unequivocal. It pledged every effort to aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the rebellion against its authority; it approved "the ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. 1 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... deign to answer purely personal attacks. But in defense of his undertakings, to protect them and the people who had put money into them, he was ready to fight. His defense commonly took the form of criticism of his critics, and in such writing his pen was decidedly trenchant. Probably no man ever incurred more foolish criticism, and probably none ever pointed out more plainly how foolish it was. Even "the ablest of his adversaries confessed themselves afraid of his pen." Besides this parrying of attack, he was continually writing and talking to show ...
— James B. Eads • Louis How

... another of drinking the elixir. The Emperor Wu-Tsung was more definitely Taoist than his predecessors. In 843 he suppressed Manichaeism and in 845, at the instigation of his Taoist advisers, he dealt Buddhism the severest blow which it had yet received. In a trenchant edict[668] he repeated the now familiar arguments that it is an alien and maleficent superstition, unknown under the ancient and glorious dynasties and injurious to the customs and morality of the nation. Incidentally he ...
— Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Charles Eliot

... those of France and America. It compares advantageously with the second par. of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) by the Representatives of the U.S., which declares, "these truths to be self-evident:—that all men are created equal," etc. It is regretable that so trenchant a state-paper should begin with so gross and palpable a fallacy. Men are not born equal, nor do they become equal before their death-days even in condition, except by artificial levelling; and in republics and limited monarchies, where all are politically equal, the greatest ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 5 • Richard F. Burton

... been written against these people is that in which the author has collected in a body the whole of the Infidel code, and has brought their writings into one body to cut them all off together.' If the subject was to be dealt with in this trenchant fashion, no one could have done it more honestly than Leland has done. But the great questions which the Deists raised cannot be dealt with thus summarily. Perhaps no book professedly written 'against these people' could possibly do justice ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... I caught sight of a face which instantly arrested my attention. A very small man, both short and slim, with a rosy complexion, protruding chin, and trenchant nose, the remains of reddish hair, and an extremely alert and vivacious expression. The broad Red Ribbon of a G.C.B. marked him out as in some way a distinguished person; and I discovered that he was the Lord Chief Justice of ...
— Fifteen Chapters of Autobiography • George William Erskine Russell

... a friendly way with its editor, John M. Daniel, whose brilliant and continuous fight upon the administration at Richmond kept him vividly before the public. Though the genial doctor deplored the aggressiveness of the Examiner, he could not resist the temptation to employ his trenchant pen in treating of public affairs. This led to his possession of the famous latchkey which "fitted the door of the house on Broad Street, opposite the African Church," a key of which he wrote that it "has its charm," and certainly ...
— Literary Hearthstones of Dixie • La Salle Corbell Pickett

... association of two classes of phenomena, of whose real bond of union he is in absolute ignorance. The problem of the connection of body and soul is as insoluble, in its modern form, as it was in the prescientific ages. Phosphorus is known to enter into the composition of the human brain, and a trenchant German writer has exclaimed, 'Ohne Phosphor, kein Gedanke!' That may or may not be the case; but even if we knew it to be the case, the knowledge would not lighten our darkness. On both sides of the zone here assigned to the materialist he is equally helpless. If you ask him whence is this 'Matter' ...
— Fragments of science, V. 1-2 • John Tyndall

... fret. William will be himself again ere yet the morrow's sun shall clear the horizon. Let us avoid recrimination. The tongue is, or would seem to be, the most vital weapon of modern society. Therefore let us leave the trenchant blade quiescent in its scabbard. I'd rather settle a dispute with my fists, or even ...
— North of Fifty-Three • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... where the life stream ebbs and flows, And stains the track of trenchant blows That met no meaner steel, The bated breath—the battle yell— The turf in slippery crimson, tell Where Castile's proudest colors fell With ...
— History of Negro Soldiers in the Spanish-American War, and Other Items of Interest • Edward A. Johnson

... changes. From a plain office drudge, Mary Fortune, the typist, suddenly found herself the second in command. Every day from Geronimo there came letters and telegrams from the prisoner in the County Jail and his trenchant orders were put into effect by the girl who had worked for McBain. Nothing more was said about her mysterious past, nor the stigma such a past implies; the women of the hotel now bowed to her hopefully and smiled if she raised her eyes. Even Jepson, the superintendent, ...
— Rimrock Jones • Dane Coolidge

... their religious belief. Of almost every labourious student it may be said: "Hic ab arte sua non recessit." And both the believing and the denying naturalists, confining habitual attention to a part of experience, are apt to affirm and deny with trenchant vigour and something of a narrow clearness "Qui respiciunt ad ...
— Evolution in Modern Thought • Ernst Haeckel

... doctor, however, had no way of knowing that my statement was not true. To deny my request was simply one of his ill-advised whims, and his refusal was given with customary curtness and contempt. I met his refusal in kind, and presented him with a trenchant critique of ...
— A Mind That Found Itself - An Autobiography • Clifford Whittingham Beers

... of the original Robert, was Robert Louis Stevenson's father. He was a man not only of mark, zeal, and inventiveness in his profession, but of a strong and singular personality; a staunch friend and sagacious adviser, trenchant in judgment and demonstrative in emotion, outspoken, dogmatic,—despotic, even, in little things, but withal essentially chivalrous and soft-hearted; apt to pass with the swiftest transition from moods of gloom or sternness ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 23 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... an earlier article (Intolerance) had treated the subject with more trenchant energy. He does not argue his points systematically, but launches a series of maxims, as with set teeth, clenched hands, and a brow like a thundercloud. He hails the oppressors of his life, the priests and ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists (Vol 1 of 2) • John Morley

... you take it aright—namely, if you recognise that it is the creation of a profound humorist, is designed for wholly practical and personal uses, and proceed to adapt your conduct to that knowledge in all light-heartedness and good faith. Thus, though in less trenchant phrase since she was still happily very young, meditated Madame de Vallorbes, while standing in the pensive October sunshine upon the wide flight of steps which leads down from the main entrance of Brockhurst House. Tall, stone pinnacles alternating with seated griffins—long of tail, fierce ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... silken bonnet keeps out no steel blade. So trenchant was the Templar's weapon, that it shore asunder, as it had been a willow twig, the tough and plaited handle of the mace, which the ill-fated Saxon reared to parry the blow, and, descending on his head, ...
— Ivanhoe - A Romance • Walter Scott

... spiritual,(72) in two parallel developments, the philosophical and the literary, neither coldly denied Christianity with the practical doubts of the English deists, nor flippantly denounced it as imposture with the trenchant and undiscriminating logic of the French infidels; but appreciating its beauty with the freshness of a poetical genius, and regarding it as one phase of the religious consciousness, endeavoured, by means of the methods employed in secular learning, ...
— History of Free Thought in Reference to The Christian Religion • Adam Storey Farrar

... to convey anything to such people; in fact, it is almost impossible to communicate with them at all. "Never tell people how you are," as a trenchant lady of my acquaintance said to me the other day; ...
— The Silent Isle • Arthur Christopher Benson

... more probable. But even that was doubtful. Her trenchant remark about civilization wasn't the product of a conditioned mind. But why was he worrying about her attitudes? They weren't important—she wasn't even human. He shook his head. That was a sophistry. The fact that she wasn't human had nothing to do ...
— The Lani People • J. F. Bone

... folk-plays in English of the Abbey Theatre, that there is almost warrant for including him. I cannot, of course, but I must at least bear testimony to the many powers of these plays. Dr. Hyde can be trenchant, when satire is his object, as in "The Bursting of the Bubble" (1903); or alive with merriment when merriment is his desire, as in "The Poorhouse" (1903); or full of quiet beauty when he writes of ...
— Irish Plays and Playwrights • Cornelius Weygandt

... Revolution, which I had yet seen. In one of the side chapels, there had been a magnificent monument; perhaps from sixteen to twenty feet in height—crowded with figures as large as life, from the base to the summit. It appeared as if some trenchant instrument of an irresistible force, had shaved away many of the figures; but more especially the heads and the arms. This was only one, but the most striking, specimen of revolutionary Vandalism. There were plenty of similar proofs, on ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume One • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... interesting. It was not characterized by sallies of wit or brilliant repartee, nor was it of that nature which is most welcome in society. It was frequently intermingled with trenchant, quaint remarks, leavened with a quiet, graceful humor of her own; but it was eminently calculated for a tete-a-tete. Mrs. Browning never made an insignificant remark. All that she said was always worth hearing;—a ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... the history and the romance of wheat to Dorn at this critical time when it was necessary to give a trenchant call to ...
— The Desert of Wheat • Zane Grey

... poyson In the sicke ayre: let not thy sword skip one: Pitty not honour'd Age for his white Beard, He is an Vsurer. Strike me the counterfet Matron, It is her habite onely, that is honest, Her selfe's a Bawd. Let not the Virgins cheeke Make soft thy trenchant Sword: for those Milke pappes That through the window Barne bore at mens eyes, Are not within the Leafe of pitty writ, But set them down horrible Traitors. Spare not the Babe Whose dimpled smiles from Fooles exhaust ...
— The First Folio [35 Plays] • William Shakespeare

... do not name him, as the communication is not quite friendly in tone) writes thus:—"I wish to add, very respectfully, that I think it would be in better taste if you were to abstain from the very trenchant expressions which you are accustomed to indulge in when criticising the answer. That such a tone must not be" ("be not"?) "agreeable to the persons concerned who have made mistakes may possibly have no great weight with you, but I hope ...
— A Tangled Tale • Lewis Carroll

... whole affair added nothing to Yuba County's reputation for law and order. The matter created some talk in San Francisco, and the Evening Mail, among other papers, expressed its opinion in one of those trenchant personal articles which are the spice of Western journalism. Two or three days later, when the incident had been almost forgotten in the office, the city editor ...
— Stories of Modern French Novels • Julian Hawthorne

... of Alpine travel, so long as he believed them to be the mere "blagues de reclame" of the wily Swiss host. His brilliant qualities of style and irony themselves told heavily against him. Was he not already known for having written the most trenchant satire that had appeared since "Gulliver's Travels"? Had he not sneered therein at the very foundations of society, and followed up its success by a pseudo- biography that had taken in the "Record" and the "Rock"? In "Life and Habit," at the very start, he goes ...
— Unconscious Memory • Samuel Butler

... morning. He was commonplace in complexion, in features, in manners, and in voice. He was of middle size and of ordinary build. His eyes, of the usual blue, were perhaps remarkably cold, and he certainly could make his glance fall on one as trenchant and heavy as an ax. But even at these times the rest of his person seemed to disclaim the intention. Otherwise there was only an indefinable, faint expression of his lips, something stealthy—a smile—not a smile—I remember it, but I can't explain. It was unconscious, this smile was, though just ...
— Heart of Darkness • Joseph Conrad

... the one and several times at the other. That little basement-room was not only the office in which Doctor LaTurque received professional calls, but it was also the sanctum in which were prepared most of the oddly-trenchant articles in the Scimetar, a quarterly medical and critical publication with a habit cutting as its name and a reputation dangerous enough to suit the most sensational fancy. Few persons connected with the practice ...
— Shoulder-Straps - A Novel of New York and the Army, 1862 • Henry Morford

... It was back, fill, and shiver-r-r all the way; but now you might as well have sets of rails laid on the water and run the ships on them. There is no seamanship needed." He never quite forgave the Commissioners for deepening the river. As he said in his trenchant manner: "There used to be some credit in bringing a ship across the bar when you were never quite sure whether she would touch or not; but now you could bring the 'Duke of Wellington' in at low water. These kid-gloved captains come right up to their moorings as safe as if they were ...
— The Romance of the Coast • James Runciman

... that? David racked his brain endlessly over the same subject. Who could be sure that 'experience' was not all moonshine? But he was as yet much too touched and shaken by what he had been going through to draw any trenchant conclusions. He asked the question, however, and therein lay the great difference between him and the ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... moment was terrible beyond expression. His whole fierce nature was roused. His mane stood erect—his tail lasher his flanks—his mouth, widely open, showed the firm-set trenchant teeth— their white spikes contrasting with the red blood that clotted his cheeks and snout, while his angry roaring added ...
— The Bush Boys - History and Adventures of a Cape Farmer and his Family • Captain Mayne Reid

... continue. Pao-y was in Tai y's apartments relating about the rat-elves, when Pao-ch'ai entered unannounced, and began to gibe Pao-y, with trenchant irony: how that on the fifteenth of the first moon, he had shown ignorance of the allusion to the green wax; and the three of them then indulged in that room in mutual poignant satire, for the ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... Sagan, Valerie kept up a semblance of self-possession. Her clear colouring faded to extreme pallor, but her proud eyes showed no sign of shrinking from the curious glances cast upon her. She caught a trenchant aside from ...
— A Modern Mercenary • Kate Prichard and Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard

... Sometimes during the day he threw himself on a sofa, a romance in his hand which he simply pretended to read, and seemed absorbed in deep reverie. Verses were sent to him from Paris which he read aloud, expressing his opinion in a brief and trenchant style; he spent three days writing regulations for the French comedy at Paris. It is difficult to understand this attention to such frivolous details when the future was so ominous. It was generally believed, and probably not without ...
— The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Constant

... wittily said, like the blank page between the Old and the New Testament. Others have taken refuge in a kind of highly rationalised Judaism little different from pure Theism. Some of the most independent, scientific, and trenchant criticism of the Old Testament writings has proceeded from members of the race which was once distinguished for the most complete and superstitious worship of the letter of the law. Spinoza in his 'Tractatus ...
— Historical and Political Essays • William Edward Hartpole Lecky

... his stand in the forehold of his ship encompassed by a wall of shields, & his men fought both with trenchant arms, and by the thrusting of spears, and by the throwing of everything that could be used as a weapon, though some shot with the bow or threw javelins with the hand. From all sides had the war-ships been brought up ...
— The Sagas of Olaf Tryggvason and of Harald The Tyrant (Harald Haardraade) • Snorri Sturluson

... Exclusiveness of liking for this or that mode of truth, only shows, either that a reader's perceptions are limited, or that he would sacrifice truth itself to his favourite form of it. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was as trenchant with his pen as his sword, hailed the Faerie Queene of his friend Spenser in verses in which he said that 'Petrarch' was thenceforward to be no more heard of; and that in all English poetry, there was nothing he counted 'of any price' but the effusions of the new ...
— English Critical Essays - Nineteenth Century • Various

... Indians, the situation was a grave one for a Catholic community, for no matter how little in conformity with the Church's teaching were the daily lives of many, excommunication was intolerable to all of them. Remonstrances and petitions against his trenchant decision poured in upon the Bishop, and the Dean, supported by the Mercedarians, undertook to intercede for the Spaniards and, if possible, to obtain some relaxation of the obnoxious ruling. Their efforts were vain, for the simple reason that Las Casas held that it was not within his ...
— Bartholomew de Las Casas; his life, apostolate, and writings • Francis Augustus MacNutt

... a mastery of clearer idiom than a professor of political economy usually commands has here said something desperately serious without a trace of dulness. I should like Professor LEACOCK'S short book to be divided into three. The first part, a trenchant analysis of some of the evils of our social and industrial system, I would send to the impossibilists and obstructives; the second, a critical examination of some of the nostrums of the progressives, should go to the hasty optimists who think that a sudden change of system ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, April 7, 1920 • Various

... chief Spanish hero of romance. To find the mate of Roland the paladin we must seek the incomparable Cid, the campeador or champion of Spain, the noblest figure in Spanish story or romance. El Mio Cid, "My Cid," as he is called, with his matchless horse Bavieca and his trenchant sword Tisona, towers in Spanish tale far above Christian king and Moslem caliph, as the pink of chivalry, the pearl of knighthood, the noblest and worthiest figure in all that ...
— Historical Tales - The Romance of Reality - Volume VII • Charles Morris

... Writs of Assistance he also did in opposing the enforcement of the Stamp Act—remonstrances suggested by the patriot's love of independence, and which, besides numberless letters, speeches and addresses, drew from the pre-Revolutionist's trenchant pen several able pamphlets, one vindicating the action of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, of which Otis was now a member, in protesting against England's intolerance in laying grievous taxation on the Colonies, and the others upholding the rights of the Colonies ...
— James Otis The Pre-Revolutionist • John Clark Ridpath



Words linked to "Trenchant" :   hard-hitting, clear-cut, clear, searching, effective, efficacious, trenchancy, effectual



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