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[doon, dyoon] /dun, dyun/
a sand hill or sand ridge formed by the wind, usually in desert regions or near lakes and oceans.
1780-90; < French, Old French < Middle Dutch dūna; cognate with down3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dunes
  • In other places, material has been deposited by the wind to form hills and dunes.
  • We follow the boardwalk along the lake and then through the shifting dunes.
  • Both the living room and the kitchen, at opposite ends of the main space, overlook the dunes.
  • There, with residents running their dogs along the dunes, it's easy to understand how such natural opulence fuels inspiration.
  • The moon's dry central regions are covered in rippling dunes and arid deserts.
  • Charter flights no longer bring tourists to gaze at the dunes.
  • The slow return of the dunes to their normal brightness strongly suggests evaporation of some liquid, presumably methane.
  • But the constant desert wind was eroding the site year by year, scattering the bones down the sides of the dunes.
  • These new dunes are then held in place by the plants beneath, and revegetation begins on the new top layer.
  • Many of the fossils were found lying on the surface of a remote, windswept stretch of rock and dunes.
British Dictionary definitions for dunes


a mound or ridge of drifted sand, occurring on the sea coast and in deserts
Word Origin
C18: via Old French from Middle Dutch dūne; see down³
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 dunes



1790, from French, Middle Dutch or Middle Low German dune, all perhaps from Gaulish *dunom (thus related to down (n.2)). The French dune "sand hill" (13c.) is held by Diez to be an Old French borrowing from Dutch duin or some other Germanic source. Italian and Spanish duna are from French. Dune buggy attested by 1965.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dunes in Science

A hill or ridge of wind-blown sand. Dunes are capable of moving by the motion of their individual grains but usually keep the same shape. See more at barchan dune, draa, longitudinal dune, seif dune, transverse dune.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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