[ duhn-juh n ]
/ ˈdʌn dʒən /


a strong, dark prison or cell, usually underground, as in a medieval castle.
the keep or stronghold of a castle; donjon.

Nearby words

  1. dungannon,
  2. dungaree,
  3. dungarees,
  4. dungeness,
  5. dungeness crab,
  6. dungeons and dragons,
  7. dunger,
  8. dunghill,
  9. dunham,
  10. dunham, katherine

Origin of dungeon

1250–1300; Middle English dungeo(u)n, dongeoun, dungun < Middle French donjon < Vulgar Latin *domniōn- (stem of *domniō) keep, mastery, syncopated variant of *dominiōn- dominion

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dungeon

British Dictionary definitions for dungeon


/ (ˈdʌndʒən) /


a close prison cell, often underground
a variant of donjon

Word Origin for dungeon

C14: from Old French donjon; related to Latin dominus master

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 dungeon



c.1300, "great tower of a castle," from Old French donjon "great tower of a castle" (12c.), from Gallo-Romance *dominionem, from Late Latin dominium, from Latin dominus "master" (of the castle; see domain). Sense of "castle keep" led to "strong (underground) cell" in English early 14c. The original sense went with the variant donjon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper