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[denz] /dɛnz/
noun, plural dentes
[den-teez] /ˈdɛn tiz/ (Show IPA).
a tooth or toothlike part.
Origin of dens
< Latin dēns; see tooth


[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.
before 1000; Middle English; Old English denn; compare early Dutch denne floor, cave, den, German Tenne floor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dens
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then the beasts go into their dens, and they remain in their places.

  • Ordinarily Coyotes do not sleep in dens or in any fixed place.

    Johnny Bear E. T. Seton
  • Not but what I've seen boardin'-house rooms that was like dens.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • Let us go down into these dens of moral disease and disinfect them.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • At this the Wolf and the Bear grew frightened, and ran away to their dens.

  • Yes; the garons should have their dens as remote as possible from the quieter regions.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • He has three dens about one hundred yards apart in a triangle.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • They retire at night into their dens, where they live on black bread, water and roots.

    The Necessity of Atheism Dr. D.M. Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for dens


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 dens



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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dens in Medicine

dens (děnz)
n. pl. den·tes (děn'tēz')

  1. Tooth.

  2. A toothlike process projecting upward from the body of the axis around which the atlas rotates. Also called odontoid process of epistropheus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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