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[den] /dɛn/
the lair or shelter of a wild animal, especially a predatory mammal.
a room, often secluded, in a house or apartment, designed to provide a quiet, comfortable, and informal atmosphere for conversation, reading, writing, etc.
a cave used as a place of shelter or concealment.
a squalid or vile abode or place:
dens of misery.
one of the units of a cub scout pack, analogous to a patrol in the Boy Scouts.
verb (used with object), denned, denning.
to drive or pursue (an animal) into its den.
to kill (an animal) inside its den.
verb (used without object), denned, denning.
to live in or as if in a den.
Origin of den
before 1000; Middle English; Old English denn; compare early Dutch denne floor, cave, den, German Tenne floor


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for den
  • On one side of the living area, a movable wall will set off a den that can double as a guest room.
  • When it was victorious, the kraken would drag the ichthyosaur's corpse back to its den for a feast.
  • It would also make this the ultimate nerd's gaming den.
  • In lean years the pups leave the den earlier, to hunt on their own in a land where success is never a sure thing.
  • In spring, females den and give birth to litters of three to twelve pups.
  • Check out what quality time with dad means in the lion's den.
  • In northern locations females den in the autumn, while in tropical climes the breeding season may not be fixed.
  • On her laptop, in a cabin in the backcountry, she watches wolf pups coming out of their den for the first time.
  • There is a den not too far away atop a timbered knoll sheltered by overhanging boughs.
  • About the size of a big iguana, a polar dinosaur snuggles into a riverbank den in an artist's conception.
British Dictionary definitions for den


the habitat or retreat of a lion or similar wild animal; lair
a small or secluded room in a home, often used for carrying on a hobby
a squalid or wretched room or retreat
a site or haunt: a den of vice
(Scot) a small wooded valley; dingle
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) a place of sanctuary in certain catching games; home or base
verb dens, denning, denned
(intransitive) to live in or as if in a den
Word Origin
Old English denn; related to Old High German tenni threshing floor, early Dutch denne low ground, den, cave


Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for den

Old English denn "wild animal's lair," from Proto-Germanic *danjan (cf. Middle Low German denne "lowland, wooded vale, den," Old English denu "valley," Old Frisian dene "down," Old High German tenni, German tenne "threshing floor," from PIE *dan- "low ground"). Sense of "small room" is 1771, originally colloquial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for den


  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Denver International Airport




The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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den in the Bible

a lair of wild beasts (Ps. 10:9; 104:22; Job 37:8); the hole of a venomous reptile (Isa. 11:8); a recess for secrecy "in dens and caves of the earth" (Heb. 11:38); a resort of thieves (Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17). Daniel was cast into "the den of lions" (Dan. 6:16, 17). Some recent discoveries among the ruins of Babylon have brought to light the fact that the practice of punishing offenders against the law by throwing them into a den of lions was common.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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