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

Around midafternoon on a recent July day, on a small island called Kakmakimiłh or Keith Island, the sounds of trowels crunching on shell middens and hoses pouring water on screens was interrupted by a series of excited shouts (and a few expletives). Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "This Centuries-Old Geoduck Shell May Rewrite the Rules About Who Can Harvest the Fancy Clam," 27 Aug. 2019 The Farasans are home to thousands of shell middens. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Rising Seas Swallowed Countless Archaeological Sites. Scientists Want Them Back," 20 May 2019 The midden was layered in white bands in the ground stacked head-high along the shore. Anchorage Daily News, "Where are the salmon and the orcas? Tribe, scientists grapple with unprecedented disappearance in Washington waters," 6 Aug. 2019 Wood recently obtained ancient DNA from rodent middens that were buried in rock crevices in the Atacama Desert in Chile from as far back as 50,000 years ago. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems," 29 May 2019 The oldest of these middens were created about 7,000 years ago. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Rising Seas Swallowed Countless Archaeological Sites. Scientists Want Them Back," 20 May 2019 The middens, made from bits of plants and covered in ancient rodent urine, held DNA that was well preserved. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems," 29 May 2019 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

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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Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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

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