See more synonyms for den on
  1. the lair or shelter of a wild animal, especially a predatory mammal.
  2. a room, often secluded, in a house or apartment, designed to provide a quiet, comfortable, and informal atmosphere for conversation, reading, writing, etc.
  3. a cave used as a place of shelter or concealment.
  4. a squalid or vile abode or place: dens of misery.
  5. one of the units of a cub scout pack, analogous to a patrol in the Boy Scouts.
verb (used with object), denned, den·ning.
  1. to drive or pursue (an animal) into its den.
  2. to kill (an animal) inside its den.
verb (used without object), denned, den·ning.
  1. to live in or as if in a den.

Origin of den

before 1000; Middle English; Old English denn; compare early Dutch denne floor, cave, den, German Tenne floor

Den. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for den

Contemporary Examples of den

Historical Examples of den

British Dictionary definitions for den


  1. the habitat or retreat of a lion or similar wild animal; lair
  2. a small or secluded room in a home, often used for carrying on a hobby
  3. a squalid or wretched room or retreat
  4. a site or haunta den of vice
  5. Scot a small wooded valley; dingle
  6. Scot and Northern English dialect a place of sanctuary in certain catching games; home or base
verb dens, denning or denned
  1. (intr) to live in or as if in a den

Word Origin for den

Old English denn; related to Old High German tenni threshing floor, early Dutch denne low ground, den, cave


abbreviation for
  1. Denmark
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 den

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