Origin of dells

by construal as a plural of dell


  1. a small, usually wooded valley; vale.

Origin of dell

before 1000; Middle English delle, Old English dell; akin to dale


  1. a male or female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dells

glen, dale, glade, dingle, vale

Examples from the Web for dells

Historical Examples of dells

British Dictionary definitions for dells


  1. a small, esp wooded hollow

Word Origin for dell

Old English; related to Middle Low German delle valley; compare dale
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 dells



rogue's cant 16c.-17c. for "a young girl of the vagrant class," of uncertain origin.

A Dell is a yonge wenche, able for generation, and not yet knowen or broken by the vpright man. ... [W]hen they have beene lyen with all by the vpright man then they be Doxes, and no Dells. [Thomas Harman, "A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursitors," 1567]



Old English dell "dell, hollow, dale" (perhaps lost and then borrowed in Middle English from cognate Middle Dutch/Middle Low German delle), from Proto-Germanic *daljo (cf. German Delle "dent, depression," Gothic ib-dalja "slope of a mountain"); related to dale (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper