dense

adjective
\ ˈden(t)s How to pronounce dense (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dense

densely adverb
denseness \ ˈden(t)-​snəs How to pronounce denseness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dense

Synonyms

close, compact, crowded, jam-packed, packed, serried, thick, tight

Antonyms

airy, loose, open, uncrowded

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Solid ice is actually less dense than liquid water (this is why icebergs float in the ocean). Brian Resnick, Vox, "The surprising science of why ice is so slippery," 31 Jan. 2019 In 1956, the ocean liner Stockholm collided with the Italian ship Andrea Doria in dense fog near Nantucket Island. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Bernard Milch, Holocaust Survivor, Founded Firm to Equip Coin Laundries," 18 Jan. 2019 Much of the fighting was hand-to-hand, waged in dense fog and winds of up to 120 mph. Melinda Morris, NOLA.com, "Louisiana soldier killed during training in Texas is laid to rest: report," 28 May 2018 Much of the fighting was hand-to-hand, waged in dense fog and winds of up to 120 mph (193 kph). Washington Post, "Bloody but forgotten WWII battle still haunts soldiers," 27 May 2018 Sheets of rain had turned the steep streets of the historic town into rivulets, and the surrounding hilltops were shrouded in a dense, milky fog, known locally as Rousdon Mist. David Shaftel, New York Times, "Searching for Dinosaurs in a Seaside English Town," 23 May 2018 Lake Michigan surface temperatures of 45 degrees combined with light winds out of the southeast and a humid air mass hovering over the area to produce dense fog. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dense fog advisory in effect in southeastern Wisconsin," 21 May 2018 In the dense media fog caused by this weekend’s royal wedding über-hype, some of us may have forgotten that Memorial Day is just around the corner. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Totes, Top Handles, and Pretty Pouches: These Are the Biggest Bag Trends of Summer 2018," 15 May 2018 The height of the cloud base determines which areas, if any, will get dense fog. Robert Krier, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Make way for May gray," 10 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dense

Dictionary Entries near dense

de novo

Denpasar

densate

dense

densen

densifier

densify

Statistics for dense

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dense

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dense

dense

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of dense

: having parts that are close together
: crowded with people
informal : not smart : not able to understand things easily

dense

adjective
\ ˈdens How to pronounce dense (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dense

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dense

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dense

Spanish Central: Translation of dense

Nglish: Translation of dense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dense for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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