See also: trépan



  • IPA(key): /tɹɪˈpæn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æn
  • Hyphenation: tre‧pan

Etymology 1Edit

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Borrowed into Middle English from Old French trepan, from Latin trepanum, from Ancient Greek τρύπανον (trúpanon, auger, borer). Doublet of trephine.

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trepan (plural trepans)

  1. A tool used to bore through rock when sinking shafts.
  2. (medicine) A surgical instrument used to remove a circular section of bone from the skull; a trephine.
See alsoEdit


trepan (third-person singular simple present trepans, present participle trepanning or trepaning, simple past and past participle trepanned or trepaned)

  1. (transitive, manufacturing, mining) To create a large hole by making a narrow groove outlining the shape of the hole and then removing the plug of material remaining by less expensive means.
  2. (medicine) To use a trepan; to trephine.

Etymology 2Edit

Possibly from Old English treppan (to trap).


trepan (plural trepans)

  1. (archaic) A trickster.
  2. (archaic) A snare; a trapan.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), 6th edition, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC:
      Snares and trepans that common life lays in its way.


trepan (third-person singular simple present trepans, present participle trepanning, simple past and past participle trepanned)

  1. (archaic) To ensnare; to seduce, to trick.
    • 1777, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal, IV.iii:
      O Fie—Sir Peter—would you have ME join in so mean a Trick? to trepan my Brother too?
    • 1796, J[ohn] G[abriel] Stedman, chapter XVII, in Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the Wild Coast of South America; [], volume II, London: J[oseph] Johnson, [], and J. Edwards, [], →OCLC, page 28:
      Among his men I recollected one Cordus, a gentleman's ſon from Hamburgh, in which character I had known him, and who had been trepanned into the Weſt India Company's ſervice by the crimps or ſilver-coopers as a common ſoldier.
    • 1798 Charlotte Turner Smith: The Young Philosopher. Vol.4, Chapter 9.
      [] a post-chaise, into which he had so infamously trepanned me []
    • 1886 May 1 – July 31, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: [], London; Paris: Cassell & Company, Limited., published 1886, →OCLC:
      “In the plain meaning of the word, sir,” said I. “I was on my way to your house, when I was trepanned on board the brig, cruelly struck down, thrown below, and knew no more of anything till we were far at sea. I was destined for the plantations; a fate that, in God’s providence, I have escaped.”





  1. third-person plural present indicative of trepar