\ˈden(t)s \
denser; densest

Definition of dense 

1a : marked by compactness or crowding together of parts dense vegetation dense traffic

b chemistry : having a high mass (see mass entry 2 sense 1c) per unit volume (see volume entry 1 sense 2) Carbon dioxide is a dense gas. The cake was overly sweet and dense.

2a : slow to understand : stupid, thickheaded was too dense to get the joke

b : extreme dense ignorance

3 mathematics : having between any two elements at least one element The set of rational numbers is dense.

4 : demanding concentration to follow or comprehend dense prose

5 : having high or relatively high opacity (see opacity sense 2) a dense fog a dense photographic negative

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Other Words from dense

densely adverb
denseness \ˈden(t)-snəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dense

stupid, dull, dense, crass, dumb mean lacking in power to absorb ideas or impressions. stupid implies a slow-witted or dazed state of mind that may be either congenital or temporary. stupid students just keeping the seats warm stupid with drink dull suggests a slow or sluggish mind such as results from disease, depression, or shock. monotonous work that leaves the mind dull dense implies a thickheaded imperviousness to ideas. too dense to take a hint crass suggests a grossness of mind precluding discrimination or delicacy. a crass, materialistic people dumb applies to an exasperating obtuseness or lack of comprehension. too dumb to figure out what's going on

dense, thick, and compact mean having parts that are gathered tightly together. dense is used of something in which the parts are very close together. They lost their way in the dense forest. thick is used of something that has many small parts that form a single mass. He has a thick head of hair. compact is used of something that has a close and firm gathering of parts, especially within a small area. The laptop has a compact design.

Examples of dense in a Sentence

They cut a path through the dense jungle. a dense tangle of wires a dense cluster of stars That part of the city has a dense population of immigrants. A dense mass of spectators filled the courtroom. In the movie, she plays his kind but somewhat dense aunt.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The council, however, exempted developers of dense, infill-style projects from paying the fee to encourage them to build housing, especially in the downtown and midtown areas where construction costs typically are higher. Tony Bizjak And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Sacramento approved 5,500 housing units. Less than 100 were for low-income residents," 5 July 2018 Since a landscaper has stated that a 3-foot-deep barrier in our dense, clay soil for the 20 or 25 linear feet required would cost them upwards of $1,000, this would be no small request., "Is clumping bamboo really not invasive? If not slugs, 'what is eating my perennials?' Ask an expert," 5 May 2018 Intended to be a place for less dense, more rural-like development, thousands of homes have been built there as growth has boomed in South Florida. Skyler Swisher,, "Developers pitch senior-living projects in Agricultural Reserve," 22 Mar. 2018 Donnelly skips the initial cooking of the berries in the blueberry bacon pie to make for a more dense, easy-to-cut dessert. Lauren Delgado,, "'Waitress' pie consultant will make some sweet visuals for Dr. Phillips performance," 17 Mar. 2018 Members of both groups attended classes with dietitians where they were trained to eat nutrient-dense, minimally processed whole foods, cooked at home whenever possible. Author: Anahad O'connor, Anchorage Daily News, "Counting calories is not the key to weight loss, a new study finds," 22 Feb. 2018 The end product is deliciously dense and smooth—like soft serve on steroids. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "The Best Ice Cream in the U.S.," 5 July 2018 To its credit, Cruise has chosen to test its cars in a super-challenging environment, the dense and oft-surprising streets of San Francisco. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "A Cruise-on-Cruise Crash Reveals the Hardest Thing About Self-Driving Tech," 3 July 2018 Its fruit is dense and black, but the wine overall feels lithe. Esther Mobley,, "Signs of new life in California vineyards," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dense.' 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 dense

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dense

Latin densus; akin to Greek dasys thick with hair or leaves

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Dictionary Entries near dense

de novo







Statistics for dense

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dense

The first known use of dense was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for dense



English Language Learners Definition of dense

: having parts that are close together

: crowded with people

: not smart : not able to understand things easily


\ˈdens \
denser; densest

Kids Definition of dense

1 : having its parts crowded together : thick dense vegetation dense fog

2 : stupid sense 1 I'm not dense enough to believe this story.

Other Words from dense

densely adverb a densely populated region

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Comments on dense

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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