\ 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)


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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The duo has since overhauled the tasting room, converting it from a low-frills warehouse to a tranquil den rife with wood and plant life, which will debut to the public this weekend. Brandon Hernández, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 May 2021 Elebash converted an upstairs bedroom into a den, designing a deep custom sectional and covering it in a riot of pillows. Joanna Linberg, Southern Living, 20 May 2021 There the reader meets an Inupiat hunter named Gene Rex Agnaboogok, who fell into a polar bear den in 1988 and orphaned Nora’s father, Nanuq. Katherine Cusumano, Outside Online, 28 Mar. 2021 The four red wolf pups remaining at the Akron Zoo, three males and one female, are currently living in a den box in a private habitat. Alexis Oatman, cleveland, 13 May 2021 To try and keep poaching rates low, and to avoid disturbing a mother and her young, researchers try to track lion den locations. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2021 The small den-guest room is sparsely furnished, but a patchwork rug and a rainbow of books keep it lively. Christine Lennon, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Apr. 2021 Park staff responded with patrols to scare away poachers and by clearing den sites of shading brush since the animals need sun. Star Tribune, 21 Mar. 2021 Select units include high ceilings, a balcony, an office/den space and kitchen island. Paul Gattis |, al, 20 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Little One's mate, Anana, has been denning since Nov. 1. Briana Rice,, 13 Dec. 2019 The groups sought information on an application by a company to conduct three-dimensional seismic exploration that could disturb denning polar bears. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, 31 July 2019 In the winter, the animals will den underground, commonly returning to the same spot year after year, and often commune there with other snake species, such as rat snakes and rattlesnakes. National Geographic, 22 July 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for den

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Den.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for den



English Language Learners Definition of den

: the home of some kinds of wild animals
US : an informal and comfortable room in a house
chiefly British, informal + old-fashioned : a small and quiet room in a house where someone goes to read, work, etc.


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for den

Nglish: Translation of den for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of den for Arabic Speakers


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