TRUNK (Fr. tronc, Lat. truncus, cut off, maimed), properly the main stem of a tree from which the branches spring, especially the stem when stripped of the branches; hence, in a transferred sense, the main part of a human or animal body without the head, arms or legs. It is from this last sense that the term " trunk-hose " is derived. These were part of the typical male costume of the 16th century, consisting of a pair of large puffed and slashed over-hose, reaching from the waist to the middle of the thigh, the legs clad in the long hose being thrust through them; the upper part of the body was covered by the jerkin or jacket reaching to the thigh (see COSTUME). The word " trunk " as applied to the elongated proboscis of the elephant is due to a mistaken confusion of French trompe, trump, with " trunk " meaning the hollow stem of a tree. A somewhat obscure meaning of French tronc, i.e. an alms-box, has given rise to the general use of " trunk " for a form of travellers' luggage.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)