\ ˈden How to pronounce den (audio) \

Definition of den

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the lair of a wild usually predatory animal
2a(1) : a hollow or cavern used especially as a hideout
(2) : a center of secret activity
b : a small usually squalid dwelling
3 : a comfortable usually secluded room
4 : a subdivision of a Cub Scout pack made up of two or more boys
5 British : a small structure built by children as a place to play, hide, or provide shelter We roamed the fields and made dens in the hedges, dragging old logs and brushwood with scraps of canvas and rope to make shelters to hide in.— Pat Smith


denned; denning

Definition of den (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to live in or retire to a den polar bears den in ice caves or snowdrifts

transitive verb

: to drive into a den

Definition of Den (Entry 3 of 3)


Synonyms for den

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of den in a Sentence

Noun The bears will spend most of the winter in their den. The TV is in the den. He spent most evenings in the den reading and smoking his pipe.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jackie Robinson’s family home in Stamford, Conn., had a den featuring trophies, artifacts and a big scrapbook commemorating his many achievements. New York Times, 25 July 2022 There’s a den, laundry closet, and garage on the bottom floor. Jon Gorey,, 22 June 2022 Blake, who is not above throwing a funeral party for no good reason, had one very good reason this time: After five years of kitschy fun and stiff cocktails, Death or Glory, a decadently dark and gothy drinking den, was closing for good. Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel, 28 Apr. 2022 West and crew built X's bunkhouse and its oppressive den from scratch on an adjacent field right next to their instantly iconic house. Joshua Rothkopf,, 18 Mar. 2022 And that den is creating a concerning risk of viral spillover for residents. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 4 Mar. 2022 If all went well, my bug bites would no longer itch, my cheeks would glow and my sneakers would smell like a florist shop and not a den of skunks. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 Berrios lost his bid for a third term as assessor in the 2018 Democratic primary to Fritz Kaegi, who promised to reform the office that has long been seen as a den of clout and patronage. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 12 July 2022 Three of the remaining rooms feature ensuites, while the fifth is currently being used as a den. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Urban animals den in parks and in seldom frequented areas between houses. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Mar. 2022 The birds live and den in the cactus, using holes created by woodpeckers and other animals. Lindsey Botts, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2022 Agency officials said some areas of the Rocky Mountains will retain enough snow in a warming world for wolverines to successfully den and breed. Matthew Brown, ajc, 1 Nov. 2021 In an unusual move, U.S. Geological Survey Director James Reilly has refused to make public the study by his own scientists of the number of female polar bears that den and give birth on land near the southern Beaufort Sea. Juliet Eilperin, Desmond Butler, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2020 These lobsters did not choose to den alone, the scientists suspected: they were being shunned. Scientific American, 1 July 2020 Dave Crowley, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who oversees the region, says this area is prime bear-denning territory. Acacia Johnson, National Geographic, 14 Jan. 2020 Typically, black bears enter their dens in October, with most brown bears denning by November, Battle said. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Nov. 2019 Many grizzly bears have denned up for winter hibernation by the time a significant number of elk remains have accumulated, study team leader Frank van Manen wrote recently in the academic journal Ursus. USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of den


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for den


Middle English, from Old English denn; akin to Old English denu valley, Old High German tenni threshing floor

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Time Traveler for den

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The first known use of den was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Den.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for den


\ ˈden How to pronounce den (audio) \

Kids Definition of den

1 : the shelter or resting place of a wild animal a fox's den
2 : a quiet or private room in a home
3 : a hiding place (as for thieves)



Legal Definition of den


More from Merriam-Webster on den

Nglish: Translation of den for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of den for Arabic Speakers


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