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trunk (trŭngk)
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n.
1.
a. The main woody axis of a tree.
b. Architecture The shaft of a column.
2.
a. The body of a human or other vertebrate, excluding the head and limbs.
b. The thorax of an insect.
3. A proboscis, especially the long prehensile proboscis of an elephant.
4.
a. A main body, apart from tributaries or appendages.
b. The main stem of a blood vessel or nerve apart from the branches.
5. A trunk line.
6. A chute or conduit.
7. Nautical
a. A watertight shaft connecting two or more decks.
b. The housing for the centerboard of a vessel.
8. Nautical Any of certain structures projecting above part of a main deck, as:
a. A covering over the hatches of a ship.
b. An expansion chamber on a tanker.
c. A cabin on a small boat.
9.
a. A covered compartment for luggage and storage, generally at the rear of an automobile.
b. A large packing case or box that clasps shut, used as luggage or for storage.
10. trunks Shorts worn for swimming or other athletics.

[Middle English trunke, from Old French tronc, from Latin truncus; see terə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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