mid·​den ˈmi-dᵊn How to pronounce midden (audio)
: a refuse heap
especially : kitchen midden
: a small pile (as of seeds, bones, or leaves) gathered by a rodent (such as a pack rat)

Examples of midden in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The land has been largely untouched for centuries — the Mocama and the Guale tribes had a presence on neighboring St. Simons Island, and while there is little information about Indigenous groups on Little St. Simons, shell middens suggest there was travel between the two. Gisela Williams, Travel + Leisure, 16 Oct. 2023 The restroom is around the corner, reached by walking past the mosquito-breeding experiment that is a midden of old tires. John Kelly, Washington Post, 26 July 2023 Additional evidence, like shell middens that bore evidence of having been eroded by strong currents, hinted at a potential paleotsunami. Nathaniel Scharping, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Feb. 2023 Faith, Chase and Quick sampled middens near Boomplaas Cave last September and received the first radiocarbon dates from the samples earlier this year. Elise Cutts, Scientific American, 14 Mar. 2023 On the Farasan Islands, the research team working with Geoff Bailey examines the interior of a shell midden after digging a narrow trench into it. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2019 Elsewhere on the Zapatero midden, Salazar and his colleagues found similar layers of sand and ripped-up ground left behind by an ancient tsunami, along with channels gouged out by the tsunami's strong, sudden current. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 7 Apr. 2022 Securing Holguin’s tribe’s blessing to dig at a midden can require years of bureaucracy and tricky in-person politics. Ross Andersen, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2021 The first two hunter-gatherer graves were found in 1875 in a shell midden, an ancient pile of waste like mussel shells and fish bones, in Riņņukalns, Latvia. Theresa MacHemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'midden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English midding, from Old Norse *mykdyngja, from myki dung + dyngja manure pile — more at dung

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of midden was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near midden

Cite this Entry

“Midden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/midden. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mid·​den ˈmid-ᵊn How to pronounce midden (audio)
: a refuse heap
especially : a mound (as of shells and bones) marking the place where prehistoric humans once lived

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