dungeon

noun
dun·​geon | \ ˈdən-jən How to pronounce dungeon (audio) \

Definition of dungeon

1 : donjon
2 : a dark usually underground prison or vault

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Did You Know?

The words for two different parts of a castle come from the same source. The word dungeon, meaning “a dark usually underground prison,” comes from the French word donjon, which also gives us our English word donjon, meaning “an inner tower in a castle.” Dungeon was first used in English in the 14th century for the strong tower in the inner part of the castle. Defenders could retreat to this tower if attackers got inside the castle walls. Part of the tower usually included an underground room, the dungeon, usually used for prisoners. Throughout its history, the word dungeon has had many spellings. Sometimes it was spelled donjon like the French word it comes from, and sometimes in other ways. In time the spelling donjon came to be used mostly for the castle tower, and the spelling dungeon mostly for the underground room or prison.

Examples of dungeon in a Sentence

The king threw them in the dungeon.

Recent Examples on the Web

Today at Minecon, developer Mojang revealed a new dungeon-crawler set in the blocky universe. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Minecraft is getting a dungeon-crawling spinoff next year," 29 Sep. 2018 In a skit where a kid is shackled in a dungeon, he's warned not to mess with his shackles. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "14 Outrageous Facts About Nickelodeon Slime," 10 Dec. 2018 Directed by the sardonic Greek Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) and boasting crackerjack performances by its three female leads (Colman is indelible), this gleefully nasty fable offers comedy as black as a dungeon. John Powers, Vogue, "These Were 2018’s 12 Best Movies," 12 Dec. 2018 The core controls are identical, as well: players descend into dungeons with a default whip attack, a limited number of bombs and climbing ropes, and an edge-grabbing jump move. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 Similarly, my first, pre-launch experience with Dark Souls was hampered by the lack of an online community to leave in-game hints or invade my solitary dungeon crawl. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Observations and lessons from two decades of writing about video games," 25 Nov. 2018 The dungeon master has a real military In a sense, the caravan standoff is all conservative role-playing, a set of tribal bonding rituals and shared narratives built around group identity and hostility toward outsiders. David Roberts, Vox, "The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis," 2 Nov. 2018 The scene might confuse anyone familiar with Aqrab, one of Egypt’s most notorious jails, where militants and political prisoners are packed into cramped dungeons and tortured. The Economist, "Egypt’s bumbling police get their man, at least on television," 31 May 2018 Each chapter follows a familiar pattern: you venture to a town, learn about something going on, and then head over to a dungeon to defeat the bad guy. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Octopath Traveler is a modern take on classic Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch," 12 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dungeon

Middle English dongeon, donjon, from Anglo-French donjun, from Vulgar Latin *domnion-, domnio keep, mastery, from Latin dominus lord — more at dominate

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Statistics for dungeon

Last Updated

3 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dungeon

The first known use of dungeon was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for dungeon

dungeon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dungeon

: a dark underground prison in a castle

dungeon

noun
dun·​geon | \ ˈdən-jən How to pronounce dungeon (audio) \

Kids Definition of dungeon

: a dark usually underground prison

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More from Merriam-Webster on dungeon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dungeon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dungeon

Spanish Central: Translation of dungeon

Nglish: Translation of dungeon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dungeon for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dungeon

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