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[dens] /dɛns/
adjective, denser, densest.
having the component parts closely compacted together; crowded or compact:
a dense forest; dense population.
stupid; slow-witted; dull.
intense; extreme:
dense ignorance.
relatively opaque; transmitting little light, as a photographic negative, optical glass, or color.
difficult to understand or follow because of being closely packed with ideas or complexities of style:
a dense philosophical essay.
Mathematics. of or relating to a subset of a topological space in which every neighborhood of every point in the space contains at least one point of the subset.
Origin of dense
1590-1600; < Latin dēnsus thick; cognate with Greek dasýs
Related forms
densely, adverb
denseness, noun
nondenseness, noun
superdense, adjective
ultradense, adjective
1. congested, crammed, teeming; impenetrable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dense
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hector striding on at their head.

    The Iliad Homer
  • Persons of every class are crowded together, here, in one dense mass.

    Sunday under Three Heads Charles Dickens
  • There was a quick rush of feet—then that dense, expectant silence once more.

    In Africa John T. McCutcheon
  • Volley after volley was poured into the dense mass, at deadly range.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • The 274 dense atmosphere of smoke soon shut his form from view.

    The Bridge of the Gods Frederic Homer Balch
British Dictionary definitions for dense


thickly crowded or closely set: a dense crowd
thick; impenetrable: a dense fog
(physics) having a high density
stupid; dull; obtuse
(of a photographic negative) having many dark or exposed areas
(of an optical glass, colour, etc) transmitting little or no light
Derived Forms
densely, adverb
denseness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin densus thick; related to Greek dasus thickly covered with hair or leaves
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 dense

early 15c., from Middle French dense and directly from Latin densus "thick, crowded; cloudy," perhaps from PIE root *dens- "dense, thick" (cf. Greek dasus "hairy, shaggy"). Sense of "stupid" is first recorded 1822.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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