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or dean

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noun British.
  1. a bare, sandy tract or low sand hill near the sea.

Origin of dene

1815–20; earlier den, in same sense, Middle English (in phrase den and strond); perhaps to be identified with Middle English dene, Old English denu, dænu valley
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dene

Historical Examples

  • A glade or valley in the wood was called a Dean, Dene, Denne, cognate with den.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

  • Captain Dene pulled at his moustache as though puzzled how to act.

    Two Little Travellers

    Frances Browne Arthur

  • It was many a long day before she again suggested a visit to Dene.

    Regiment of Women

    Clemence Dane

  • "Those are the Dene fields," said Alicia, following her glance.

    Regiment of Women

    Clemence Dane

  • His people lived there for generations—the Lumsdens of Dene Compton.

    Regiment of Women

    Clemence Dane

British Dictionary definitions for dene



  1. British a valley, esp one that is narrow and wooded

Word Origin

Old English denu valley; see den



  1. dialect, mainly Southern English a sandy stretch of land or dune near the sea

Word Origin

C13: probably related to Old English dūn hill; see down ³


pl n
  1. the North American Indian peoples of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in Canada. The official body representing them is called the Dene Nation

Word Origin

via French déné, from Athapascan dene people
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

Word Origin and History for dene


"bare, sandy tract by the sea," late 13c., of uncertain origin, perhaps connected to dune, but the sense difference is difficult.


"small valley," from Old English denu "valley" (see den).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper