\ 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

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Other Words from dense

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for dense



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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

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 result is that people become segregated into large, dense and increasingly misinformed communities commonly described as echo chambers. Filippo Menczer, Scientific American, "Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It," 20 Nov. 2020 The holiday table may be full of the most calorically dense foods people eat all year, Van Horn said. American Heart Association News,, "Tackling turkey day: Strategies for a healthy feast," 20 Nov. 2020 Crisp on the outside, almost creamy on the inside, the savory, herbaceous dense stuffing contrasted with the sweet, buttermilky tang and fluffiness of the waffle had me at the first bite. Los Angeles Times, "Turn your leftover Thanksgiving stuffing into waffles. And put an egg on it," 19 Nov. 2020 The National Landing development is meant to be a walkable dense community with immediate access to public transit and a variety of shops and restaurants. Washington Post, "Amazon update: Second headquarters development and the area’s housing market," 19 Nov. 2020 Plump and dense, the tree comes in three sizes, each one bursting with branch tips and warm white LED lights that last for 10,000 hours. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "24 artificial Christmas trees you’ll want to put up ASAP," 19 Nov. 2020 Perhaps health clubs could institute more targeted approaches like no basketball games or kids parties where people are running into each other, and maybe keep certain areas of the gym less dense. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: New virus restrictions, pause on youth sports, COVID vaccine," 19 Nov. 2020 Europa's ocean is under a dense layer of frozen crust that is largely believed to be at least six and as many as 19 miles thick. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "One of the best places to look for life in the solar system is erupting with water: scientists don't know why," 18 Nov. 2020 After an initial rejection by the parish Planning and Zoning Commission, Schoen said that the developer filed again with a proposal that is less dense — 155 homes instead of 185. Staff Reports,, "Parish Council upholds Dove Park Ridge rezoning," 16 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dense

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dense

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for dense


How to pronounce dense (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dense

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


\ 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

Choose the Right Synonym for dense

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.

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