dan·​der | \ ˈdan-dər How to pronounce dander (audio) \

Definition of dander

1 : dandruff specifically : minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may be allergenic
2 : anger, temper now don't get your dander up

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Did You Know?

How did "dander" acquire its "temper" sense? Etymologists have come up with a few possibilities, but nothing is known for sure. Some experts have proposed, tongue-in-cheek, that the meaning stems from the image of an angry person tearing out his or her hair by the fistful, scattering dandruff in the process. Some think it may come from a West Indian word dander, which refers to a kind of ferment and suggests "rising" anger (in English, "ferment" can mean either "an agent capable of causing fermentation" or "a state of unrest or excitement"). Yet another proposed possibility is that the anger sense was imported to America by early Dutch colonists and is from their phrase op donderen, meaning "to burst into a sudden rage."

Examples of dander in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pet owners know that hair and dander can end up in the tiniest crevices and most unexpected places, so having a tool to keep your home and clothing fur-free is essential. Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored, "15 gadgets that'll help keep your clothes and home free of pet hair," 25 June 2020 Change fan speeds manually, or let the purifier sense the most efficient way to clean depending on current levels of pet dander, smoke, or allergens. Popular Science, "The best air purifiers to keep you breathing easy," 20 Dec. 2019 The most common triggers are pathogens (like the common cold and flu viruses), allergens (like pollen or cat dander), and irritants, which can be chemical (like perfume) or physical (like dust), Dr. Voigt says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 This amazing little machine fights pollutants, mold, dander, and other airborne undesirables with technology that works at the molecular level. Tony Vaz, Popular Science, "Small but powerful air purifiers," 9 Mar. 2020 The hand vac’s 14V lithium-ion battery is a powerhouse of hair, dust, and dander suction and for a hand vac, the dust cup is pretty large, with a 0.7-liter capacity. Popular Science, "The best vacuums for people with pets," 1 Apr. 2020 Also be on the lookout for allergens like dust mites, pet dander, molds and pollens. Hallie Levine, New York Times, "What to Do About Your Kid’s Eczema," 17 Apr. 2020 Your symptoms can also be triggered if dust, pet dander, dust mites, or even mold are kicked up during your spring cleaning. Alyssa Jung, Good Housekeeping, "The Most Common Spring Allergy Symptoms and How to Get Some Relief," 30 Mar. 2020 Beyond this, the Shark IQ comes with all the expected bells and whistles, and is powerful enough to deal with pet hair and dander. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "Great robot vacuums that will clean up your mess," 16 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dander.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dander

1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dander

alteration of dandruff

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Time Traveler for dander

Time Traveler

The first known use of dander was in 1786

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Statistics for dander

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dander. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for dander


dan·​der | \ ˈdan-dər How to pronounce dander (audio) \

Kids Definition of dander

1 : tiny scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may cause allergic reactions
2 : anger entry 2 The insults got my dander up.


dan·​der | \ ˈdan-dər How to pronounce dander (audio) \

Medical Definition of dander

: dandruff specifically : minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may act as allergens

More from Merriam-Webster on dander

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dander

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dander

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