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See more synonyms for dense on Thesaurus.com
adjective, dens·er, dens·est.
  1. having the component parts closely compacted together; crowded or compact: a dense forest; dense population.
  2. stupid; slow-witted; dull.
  3. intense; extreme: dense ignorance.
  4. relatively opaque; transmitting little light, as a photographic negative, optical glass, or color.
  5. difficult to understand or follow because of being closely packed with ideas or complexities of style: a dense philosophical essay.
  6. Mathematics. of or relating to a subset of a topological space in which every neighborhood of every point in the space contains at least one point of the subset.
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Origin of dense

1590–1600; < Latin dēnsus thick; cognate with Greek dasýs
Related formsdense·ly, adverbdense·ness, nounnon·dense·ness, nounsu·per·dense, adjectiveul·tra·dense, adjective

Synonyms for dense

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1. congested, crammed, teeming; impenetrable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dense

heavy, solid, impenetrable, opaque, simple, thick, dull, close, compact, condensed, crowded, heaped, jammed, packed, substantial, thickset, close-knit, crammed, jam-packed, massed

Examples from the Web for dense

Contemporary Examples of dense

Historical Examples of dense

  • Persons of every class are crowded together, here, in one dense mass.

  • Volley after volley was poured into the dense mass, at deadly range.

  • No break occurred, and presently I was stopped by a dense thicket of bushes.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • The day was sultry, and the heat, even in the dense shade of the jungle, oppressive.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • But when he was a half-mile on the other side he drew into a dense cluster of bushes and waited.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

British Dictionary definitions for dense


  1. thickly crowded or closely seta dense crowd
  2. thick; impenetrablea dense fog
  3. physics having a high density
  4. stupid; dull; obtuse
  5. (of a photographic negative) having many dark or exposed areas
  6. (of an optical glass, colour, etc) transmitting little or no light
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Derived Formsdensely, adverbdenseness, noun

Word Origin for dense

C15: from Latin densus thick; related to Greek dasus thickly covered with hair or leaves
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 dense


early 15c., from Middle French dense and directly from Latin densus "thick, crowded; cloudy," perhaps from PIE root *dens- "dense, thick" (cf. Greek dasus "hairy, shaggy"). Sense of "stupid" is first recorded 1822.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper