\ 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)


Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for den

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The coverage featured photos of the two areas’ mostly white and non-mask wearing patrons, and cast the party spot as a dangerous, vice-fueled den brimming with potential carriers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Mary Hui, Quartz, "How a Hong Kong bar street popular with foreigners became a coronavirus cautionary tale," 23 Mar. 2020 Back in 2012, a 25-year-old was mauled after leaping from a monorail train into the den of a Bronx Zoo Siberian tiger, according to NBC New York. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "Woman posts videos of herself hopping a fence to approach Bronx Zoo lion. Police want a word.," 2 Oct. 2019 The great room combines the living room, family room, dining room and den. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs’ Bel-Air showplace is casting for a new owner," 30 Sep. 2019 The house long has been typecast as a den of iniquity, a fantasy hideout for rappers like Snoop Dogg and G-Eazy in their music videos or pornographer Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Peculiar Life of the Man in the 'Big Lebowski' House: An NBA Superfan’s Wild L.A. Mansion," 12 Mar. 2020 According to German and French folklore, when marmots and bears came out of their dens too early during the winter, they were scared by their own shadows and went back in for four to six weeks. Dallas News, "Dallas Arboretum’s groundhog guest predicts an early spring for Dallas," 2 Feb. 2020 Some employed prayers against the dens of alcoholic damnation, while others attacked them physically, such as the activist Carry Nation, who was notorious for using a hatchet to vandalize bars in the 1900s. National Geographic, "Raise a glass! It's the 100th anniversary of Prohibition.," 16 Jan. 2020 Justin Park’s darkened den of soju and Korean vittles is the poster child for late-night fare, brash and spicy and even better with booze. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "10 best late night Phoenix restaurants: Great pizza, burgers, Asian, comfort food," 8 June 2018 The space now has a master bedroom with a large master bathroom and a walk-in closet, a den, living room, dining room, kitchen, a second full bathroom, and an office space for Leticia. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Home with a vault: Couple turn a historic Waukesha bank building into their home, office," 19 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "The risky plan to haul minerals from a mine in the Alaska wilderness," 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, "Brown bear killed after it raided chicken coop in Eagle River Valley," 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, "MLK, robot unemployment, Python Bowl: News from around our 50 states," 14 Jan. 2020 Little One's mate, Anana, has been denning since Nov. 1. Briana Rice,, "Cincinnati Zoo's male polar bear Little One celebrates 30th birthday," 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, "Groups sue for information on Arctic refuge lease sale," 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, "Copperheads," 22 July 2019 Still just 17 years old, Van den Berg had already made 22 appearances for the Eredivisie side, with 15 of those coming last season., "Jurgen Klopp Delighted With New Signing Sepp van den Berg as Liverpool Return to Training," 7 July 2019 Encircle the bottom of your porch with fencing to prevent animals from denning underneath. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A deer and dog had a wild encounter in a Wauwatosa backyard," 10 June 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.

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

Time Traveler for den

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for den

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Den.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for den


How to pronounce Den (audio)

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


Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on den

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for den

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with den

Spanish Central: Translation of den

Nglish: Translation of den for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of den for Arabic Speakers

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!