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 Warframe has a little bit of everything—dungeons full of monsters and puzzles, big open worlds with quests and story, space combat, customizable spaceships and pets, and hundreds of hours of content. Matthew Gault, Time, "Video Games Are a Great Way to Pass the Time and Keep You Connected. Here's How to Get Started," 5 May 2020 Knowing that the coronavirus has us all cooped up indoors, the creators of the game made all dungeons, raids, and expansion packs available to everyone through the end of April. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Games To Play Online With Your Friends While We’re All Stuck At Home," 24 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, occupation forces committed scores of atrocities in both countries — some the typical concomitants of war, some simply gratuitous crimes, as in the torture dungeon at Abu Ghraib and the Nisour Square massacre. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Bernie Sanders is America's best hope for a sane foreign policy," 7 Jan. 2020 In the eighth episode of The Clone Wars’ final season, former Jedi Ahsoka Tano and her new allies, Trace and Rafa Martez are back in the Pyke Syndicate’s dungeon on Oba Diah. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, "The Clone Wars recap: Ahsoka says goodbye to the Martez sisters," 10 Apr. 2020 The three new games include the endless multiplayer climber Crossy Road Castle, the pinball-like dungeon crawler Roundguard and the 3D robotic spider controlling Spyder. Michael Koczwara, The Hollywood Reporter, "Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Plague Inc.' Developer Donates $250,000 to Fight Coronavirus Pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 After months of high-dungeon whining from journalists about the lack of White House press briefings, the president goes fully transparent, taking questions at length every day. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Liberal Media Scream: Rachel Maddow wants Trump’s briefings filtered through her," 23 Mar. 2020 Pilcrow Coctail Cellar, Halloween at Pilcrow For Halloween, the basement cocktail bar is doing is taking its dungeon and candle decor to the next level with a special cocktail menu and Halloween playlist from DJ Kallima. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al, "Hallowed spirits: From bars to coffee shops, here’s where to celebrate with a sip in Birmingham," 22 Oct. 2019 The more adventurous might be invited down into the home’s dungeon, its black storm cellar doors pitched against the house near the back door. R. Daniel Foster, Los Angeles Times, "An L.A. home where homoerotic artist Tom of Finland lived is a shrine to his legacy," 2 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for dungeon

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dungeon

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dungeon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dungeon. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for dungeon


How to pronounce dungeon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dungeon

: a dark underground prison in a castle


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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dungeon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dungeon

Spanish Central: Translation of dungeon

Nglish: Translation of dungeon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dungeon for Arabic Speakers

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