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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Trepan \Tre*pan"\, v. t. To insnare; to trap; to trapan.

Guards even of a dozen men were silently trepanned from their stations.
--De Quincey.


Trepan \Tre*pan"\, n. [F. tr['e]pan (cf. Sp. tr['e]pano, It. trepano, trapano), LL. trepanum, fr. Gr. ? a borer, auger, trepan, fr. ? to bore, ? a hole. Cf. Trephine.]

  1. (Surg.) A crown-saw or cylindrical saw for perforating the skull, turned, when used, like a bit or gimlet. See Trephine.

  2. (Mining) A kind of broad chisel for sinking shafts.


Trepan \Tre*pan"\, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. Trepanned; p. pr. & vb. n. Trepanning.] [Cf. F. tr['e]paner. See Trepan a saw.] (Surg.) To perforate (the skull) with a trepan, so as to remove a portion of the bone, and thus relieve the brain from pressure or irritation; to perform an operation with the trepan.


Trepan \Tre*pan"\, n. [See Trapan.]

  1. A snare; a trapan.

    Snares and trepans that common life lays in its way.

  2. a deceiver; a cheat.

    He had been from the beginning a spy and a trepan.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1400, from Old French trépaner (14c.), from trepan (n.), the name of the tool with which it was done, from Medieval Latin trepanum "a saw for cutting out small pieces of bone from the skull," from Greek trypanon "a borer, an auger, a carpenter's tool; a surgeon's trepan," from trypan "to bore," related to trype "hole" (cognate with Old Church Slavonic truplu "hollow"), from PIE *trup-, from root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn" (see throw (v.)). Related: Trepanned; trepanning.


Etymology 1 n. 1 A tool used to bore through rock when sinking shafts. 2 (context medicine English) A surgical instrument used to remove a circular section of bone from the skull; a trephine. vb. 1 (context transitive manufacturing mining English) 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 (context medicine English) To use a trepan; to trephine. Etymology 2

n. 1 (context archaic English) A trickster. 2 (context archaic English) A snare; a trapan. vb. (context archaic English) To trick; to ensnare; to seduce.

  1. n. a surgical instrument used to remove sections of bone from the skull [syn: trephine]

  2. a drill for cutting circular holes around a center

  3. v. cut a hole with a trepan, as in surgery

  4. [also: trepanning, trepanned]


Trepan may refer to:

  • Trepanning, the medical procedure
  • Trepan (drill bit), a type of drill bit
  • Trepan (grape), another name for the Spanish wine grape Trepat
  • Trepan Records, a record label

Usage examples of "trepan".

Medical knowledge stirred him too how to operate on a hernia, or trepan the brain, or fill with goldleaf the cavity of a tooth.

But the point I refer to is this: the old instrument, the trepan, had a handle like a wimble, what we call a brace or bitstock.

Barnaby True was too full of his own thoughts to talk--and serious enough thoughts they were by this time, with crimps to trepan a man at every turn, and press gangs to carry a man off so that he might never be heard of again.

The man is known the world over as a sciolist, a medicaster, a humbug, a hoaxster, a trepan, a—"

And then the alethiometer, in the casual way it sometimes had of answering a question Lyra hadn't asked, added that there was a good deal more Dust around the trepanned skulls than around the one with the arrowhead.

He is the Animal of the Wig, the Trepanned Skull, the Ear Trumpet, the Glass Eye, the Pasteboard Nose, the Porcelain Teeth, the Silver Windpipe, the Wooden Leg -- a creature that is mended and patched all over, from top to bottom.

Shep's one-eyed stare, as direct a moment of contact as ever he'd made with his brother, was an image suitable for any horror-movie poster: the essence of terror, the look of the victim just before the alien from another world rips his throat open, just before the zombie tears his heart out, just before the lunatic psychiatrist trepans his skull and devours his brain with a good Cabernet.

This month's exhibit was on the history of surgical instruments, and I glanced at the array of therapeutic weaponry - from crude, stone trepans exposing the cerebral tissue within a mannikin's skull to lasers traversing arterial tunnels.