\ˈden \

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)


Keep scrolling for more

Examples of den in a Sentence


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In between Shanghai was a sprawling, hyperenergetic demimonde of opium dens, gambling casinos, and illicit dance halls. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of July: the Monitor's picks," 12 July 2018 Image Click on the slide show to see this week’s featured properties: In Sea Cliff, N.Y., a three-bedroom, one-bath, 1955 ranch-style house on about 0.25 acres by Scudders Pond with a den, an unfinished basement and a wood deck. New York Times, "Homes for Sale in New York and Connecticut," 5 July 2018 Sportdirektor @Brazzo über @AnthonyMartial: „Diese Sachen mit den Verhandlungen sind interne Sachen, die wir nicht nach außen diskutieren., "Bayern Munich Reportedly Looking to Snap Up Manchester United's Anthony Martial This Summer," 3 July 2018 Walker's new home has a den, fitness room, casita and large glass retractable doors that open to a large backyard with a pool, spa and built-in barbecue. Robert Gundran, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher, retired Detroit Lion buy Paradise Valley houses," 2 July 2018 After locating the den, Sikich and his team waited patiently for a chance to inspect the kittens while their mom was away. National Geographic, "Den of Mountain Lion Kittens Found in Unlikely Place," 21 June 2018 First-floor features include a master suite with dual closets, a private den, a large open kitchen, a formal dining room and a gas fireplace. Mary Murphy,, "Property of the Week: Essex Glen," 6 June 2018 The floor plan includes an office/playroom, a garden-view living room, a den, four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Neal J. Leitereg, Jack Flemming And Lauren Beale, sacbee, "Hot Property: $68 million farmhouse mansion sells | The Sacramento Bee," 21 May 2018 Among its many blandishments is an infinity pool that serves as a ceiling for the den. Ruth La Ferla, The Seattle Times, "In “Incredibles 2,” the Parr house is the breakout star," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That included the use of snares, nets, and traps, hunting wolves or coyotes during their denning season, baiting bears, and using aircraft to hunt bears. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal judge rejects predator-control lawsuit against Interior Department," 8 June 2018 The Wyoming plan also includes a no-hunt buffer zone in a region east of Grand Teton where several bears adored by photographers and tourists are known to roam and den. Karin Brulliard,, "Yellowstone grizzly bears are off the endangered list; Wyoming says it's time to hunt them again," 24 May 2018 With sea ice diminishing due to a warming climate, increasing numbers of polar bears are denning in the coastal plain. Anchorage Daily News, "Sen. Murkowski has it wrong; drilling in ANWR would be a tragedy," 7 Jan. 2018 Because of sea ice loss, increased numbers of pregnant female bears now den on land, with much of that occurring on the coastal plain. Bill Sherwonit, Alaska Dispatch News, "ANWR needs protection now more than ever," 27 Oct. 2017 An increasing number of polar bears are now denning onshore during the winter — when seismic studies would take place — due to diminishing sea ice, and a significant portion of the coastal plain is designated as critical habitat for the bears. Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, "Trump administration working toward renewed drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," 15 Sep. 2017 Conservation groups say the 1002 area — 8 percent of the refuge — is critical habitat for the Porcupine caribou herd and threatened polar bears that den along the coast in greater numbers than elsewhere in Alaska. Alex Demarban, Alaska Dispatch News, "ANWR well, drilled on a private Native inholding, has held its secret for decades as interest in the coastal plain has grown and subsided," 22 July 2017 This year, Lewis was on a mission to find out if the fishers were denning. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "Furry fisher in South Cascades has a baby! Biologists say grainy photo shows kit," 29 June 2017 Avoid areas where coyotes may be denning or feeding/hiding pups. Daily News Staff, The Mercury News, "Daily News HomePage for Friday, March 17," 17 Mar. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about den

Dictionary Entries near den






de nada


Phrases Related to den

den of iniquity

Statistics for den

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for den

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for den



English Language Learners Definition of den

: the home of some kinds of wild animals

: an informal and comfortable room in a house

: a small and quiet room in a house where someone goes to read, work, etc.


\ˈden \

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 


Keep scrolling for more

Comments on den

What made you want to look up den? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!