midden

noun
mid·​den | \ ˈmi-dᵊn How to pronounce midden (audio) \

Definition of midden

1 : dunghill
2a : a refuse heap especially : kitchen midden
b : 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

As a specialist in Maya civilization, Rathje was well practiced in the study of middens, heaps of ancient rubbish that had provided his field with most of its knowledge about Mesoamerican culture. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "The Vanishing City," 13 Aug. 2018 The rodents create huge piles of food called middens that can keep them going for several seasons—and are sometimes also discovered by future generations of squirrels. Brian Gordon Green, National Geographic, "Why a Squirrel Stashed 50 Pounds of Pine Cones in a Car," 9 June 2018 This sort of caching is common among squirrels, and the animals have been known to stockpile all sorts of interesting things in their middens, or store-rooms. Jessica Haines, National Geographic, "These Adorable Squirrels Are Also Baby-Killing Cannibals," 16 Mar. 2018 This untouched wilderness has miles of trails that wind through spruce and fir trees, past Native American shell middens and tide pools. Mona Gable, Vogue, "The Best Way to Experience the Oregon Coast," 10 Dec. 2017 Seabirds are mentioned in Norse sagas as early as the 9th century, and their bones have been found in the middens of Viking settlements. Cheryl Katz, Smithsonian, "Disappearing Puffins Bring an Icelandic Hunting Tradition Under Scrutiny," 17 Jan. 2017 From human remains more than 13,000 years old to the earliest middens and fishhooks in North America, the Channel Islands National Park off the California coast are a treasure trove of information about early North American people. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "Prehistoric Native American Site Discovered Off the California Coast," 9 June 2017 In later centuries, European settlers viewed the middens as a resource. Murray Carpenter, New York Times, "Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds," 19 Oct. 2017 Shell middens are layers of cooking remains, particularly bones, shell and grease, deposited through years of human use of a site. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Land transfer brings closure to Lummi tribe 20 years after ancestors’ remains disturbed," 30 June 2017

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for midden

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

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

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