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: the lair of a wild usually predatory animal
: a hollow or cavern used especially as a hideout
: a center of secret activity
: a small usually squalid dwelling
: a comfortable usually secluded room
: a subdivision of a Cub Scout pack made up of two or more boys
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


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denned; denning

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


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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
With cameras in her den, researchers monitored her, contributing to the understanding of maternal care behavior, Owen said. Julie Watson, Fortune Asia, 22 Feb. 2024 Explore charming neighborhoods like the windy streets and hot restaurants of the West Village or the excellent vintage shopping on the Lower East Side or Williamsburg, and then dance until dawn at warehouse parties in Bushwick or hang at intimate cocktail dens in the East Village. Juliet Izon, Glamour, 20 Feb. 2024 To build a better timeline, officers looked at a trail camera that showed the grizzly bear left the den on March 14 but did not return. Eric Grossarth, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Dune, 1439 Washington Ave., 672-7111: The old Le Loft site has undergone a major face-lift -- the place now looks like the opulent den of a wealthy oil sheik, complete with palm fronds, billowing curtains and lots of camels and sand dunes. Miami Herald Archives, Miami Herald, 8 Feb. 2024 Fish and Game went to the den and found the dead cub. Eric Grossarth, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 The site of Pete’s Candy Store, on Lorimer Street, was once a general store, a luncheonette and a gambling den. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2024 The layout, the newest addition to the company’s building portfolio, includes a first floor den, covered deck, a stately open staircase, a rich stained kitchen complete with stainless steel appliances and approximately 2,920 square feet of living space. Kansas City Star, 25 Jan. 2024 In the clip, Buzz cautiously sticks her head out of her den into the large, grassy enclosure. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 27 Dec. 2023
Wolves mate in the late winter and den in the spring, with pups born around late April. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Plus, keyboards can be more affordable than other upgrades to an office or den, like a monitor. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2023 Appalachian rattler dens have a long history of human visitation. Thomas Palmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Inside the various living spaces — a great room, tea room and den on the first floor — offer ornate Old World design and several wood-burning fireplaces. Mackenzie Schmidt, Peoplemag, 14 Dec. 2023 How Grizzly Bear Weight Changes Depending on Time of Year Before denning, grizzly bears will consume enough food to pack on more than 3 pounds of body weight per day. Matthew Every, Field & Stream, 13 Dec. 2023 To find snow that will last that long into spring, wolverines typically den at elevations of 7,000 feet or higher. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023 Foxes, in particular, were boldly venturing into his yard and denning under the homes of his neighbors. Amanda Long, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2023 Shirley den Hartog, his business partner, said the death, in a hospital, was caused by complications of a recent lung transplant. Nina Siegal, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'den.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near den

Cite this Entry

“Den.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the shelter or resting place of a wild animal
: a hiding place (as for thieves)
: a dirty run-down place in which people live or gather
dens of misery
: a comfortable room set apart usually for reading and relaxation
: a division of a Cub Scout pack

Legal Definition



More from Merriam-Webster on den

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