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[durn] /dɜrn/
adjective, adverb, verb (used with object), Dialect.
darn2 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dern
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I wouldn't give a dern to know what's the matter of Phillips, I says to myself.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • When they asked me if I was hurt, I says, 'He snapped my dern old leg like a 'tater.'

  • He's just too dern fat to do much more'n sit on a throne and eat grapes.

    Dream Town Henry Slesar
  • dern me if I didn't plumb forgit about any chance of her showin' up.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • But dern him, he can't write it—which is all wrong, and not as it should be.

Word Origin and History for dern

"secret, hidden" (obsolete), from Old English derne "concealed, secret, dark," from West Germanic *darnjaz (cf. Old Saxon derni, Old Frisian dern, Old High German tarni "secret, concealed").

As a verb, "to conceal," from Old English diernan "to hide." Cf. Old High German tarnjan "to conceal, hide;" German Tarnkappe "cloak of invisibility." Related to dark (adj.). French ternir "to tarnish, to dull" is a Germanic loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dern



(also darned or darnfoolor derned or durned) Wretched; nasty; silly: sentimental songs, darnfool ditties, revival hymns


: She was darn excited


(also darn it or dern it or durn it) An exclamation of disappointment, irritation, frustration, etc: Darn, I've dropped my glockenspiel!

[1780s+; euphemism for damn, which is regarded by some as taboo; probably based on earlier darnation, ''damnation,'' attested by 1798]


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The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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