Definition of den in English:

den

noun

  • 1A wild mammal's hidden home; a lair.

    ‘a female mink had set up her den there’
    • ‘The pups emerged from their protective den, pawing the earth in celebration.’
    • ‘North American river otters build dens in the burrows of other mammals, in natural hollows, such as under a log, or in river banks.’
    • ‘For example, everyone is familiar with kittens playing together, or has seen film of fox or wolf cubs wrestling and fighting at the mouth of the den.’
    • ‘When the weather improved they disappeared back to their dens or caves in the forests.’
    • ‘In the extreme cold of the Arctic winter, hares dig dens in hardened drifts, and, while resting, they sit on their well-furred hind feet hunched into a heat-conserving ball.’
    • ‘They also build dens in stream banks with the entrance underwater.’
    • ‘Some terriers' tails were cropped because it made it easier for them to get into badger setts, fox dens and the like.’
    • ‘Bears will seldom den in habitat that is not capable of catching large snowdrifts.’
    • ‘Colugos are nocturnal, passing the day in dens in hollow trees or suspended from branches.’
    • ‘One smaller, rusty-colored female gathered up the younger pups and herded them back into the den.’
    • ‘Others build dens in hollow logs, under tree roots, or in abandoned buildings.’
    • ‘Allen says it is not unusual to see ski tracks going right over a sleeping bear's den in the middle of winter.’
    • ‘With a muffled growl, the white lycan crawled her way up the narrow tunnel of the den, and stepped out into the world, her world.’
    • ‘Skunks, foxes, weasels, opossums and rabbits all use groundhog burrows for their dens.’
    • ‘The spotted hyena spends its day in holes in the ground, or in rocky dens.’
    • ‘He studied their habits and habitats and knew exactly when the fox or badger was in the den or sett.’
    • ‘Despite their tiny size, the naked mole-rat family den may stretch for 2 miles entirely underground, with various rooms.’
    • ‘One can also speculate that cubs emerging from dens in sub-optimal habitats would experience reduced survival.’
    • ‘We traced the primary crime scene back to a wild coyote den.’
    • ‘Inhabiting thick, wooded country and arid, shrubby areas, jaguars often make their dens in caves, or under overhanging rocks.’
    lair, sett, earth, drey, lodge, burrow, hole, tunnel, cave, dugout, hollow, covert, shelter, hiding place, hideout
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    1. 1.1informal A room or hideout where a person can go to relax or be private.
      ‘Harriet built a den in a tree’
      • ‘To the right of the entrance hall is the original dining room, which has now become a den or winter sitting room with deep lilac walls and a dark wood fireplace.’
      • ‘These are the privileged few who had intimate meetings with the candidates in corporate suites and the private dens of the super rich.’
      • ‘The den, computer room, and bathroom were all empty.’
      • ‘It is currently used as a home office although given its size it could also be used as a den, games room or sixth bedroom.’
      • ‘Sean was in the den relaxing when he called out to me in the kitchen as I was preparing dinner.’
      • ‘LeeAnne doubled back and we all went through the living room into a den, which had been set up with streamers and things.’
      • ‘Another flight of stairs leads to a good sized attic room which could suit a variety of uses - a den, games room, home office or perhaps a teenager's bedroom.’
      • ‘This room would also make an ideal den or music room for teenagers, as it is well away from the main reception area.’
      • ‘No one was in the living room, or the den, so I headed for the kitchen.’
      • ‘It was about ten at night so everyone had already retired to their rooms or the den.’
      • ‘Kyle stood and led the two out of the family room into the den, where all of his equipment was stored.’
      • ‘To the left were six rooms: a living room, a den, a dining area, a kitchen, and the final room was the entire width of the house.’
      • ‘After dinner the whole family split up between the den, family room and basement.’
      • ‘Opposite the dining side of the living room is the den, entered by a wide doorway flanked by interior windows.’
      • ‘Gabrielle entered what seem to be a den or second living room.’
      • ‘Had my father lived, he might have sought my advice the way Nancy's seeks hers, confiding his conflicts in private, in his den.’
      • ‘This bedroom has both a bay and Velux window and could suit a variety of uses such as a den or games room.’
      • ‘So I looked on other shelves in the living room, in the den, in the bedroom, and in my office downstairs.’
      • ‘She turned at the bottom of the stairs and passed through the den to the family room.’
      • ‘When my oldest daughter left home, I decided to turn her room into a small den.’
      study, studio, library
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    2. 1.2 A place where people meet in secret, typically to engage in an illicit activity.
      ‘an opium den’
      ‘a den of iniquity’
      • ‘George and Tony took the gang back to their secret den to discuss what to do next.’
      • ‘But Scrushy's incompetence went far beyond allowing a den of thieves to run amok in the finance department.’
      • ‘They alleged that surveillance indicated the venue was a den of iniquity and a haven for drug users and underage drinkers.’
      • ‘Not all entertainment businesses which cater to young people are dens of iniquity.’
      • ‘Now, it has descended into a public den of iniquity used by local youths who have no sense of propriety.’
      • ‘Such was the popularity of these drinking dens that to meet the demand at the height of the boom in 1760, the Firth of Forth yielded 30 million oysters a year.’
      • ‘The City had obtained search warrants for various sites suspected of being dens of criminal activity, said communication's officer for the city.’
      • ‘The bar was condemned anew as a den of iniquity, black with the sins of alcohol and secondhand smoke.’
      • ‘Here some doctors worked clandestinely for the separatists and turned it into a den of separatist conspiracies.’
      • ‘Escaping to one of the ‘safe’ homes you find a den of thieves who trick you into handing over all your cash.’
      • ‘Bombed-out buildings house dens of illicit commerce, while bridges and river banks swarm with a second society.’
      • ‘The building was old and derelict, a suitable place for a den of thieves.’
      • ‘It could be a special spot in the woods, or a secret den that you've built with friends.’
      • ‘He was sent undercover into the dens of iniquity that made the city famous.’
      • ‘The commission has been looking into a myriad of claims centring on the fixing of races, bribery and gambling dens.’
      • ‘These are usually rather dark dens of iniquity, in my experience, but not so here.’
      • ‘As she walked toward a dark alleyway containing a concealed entrance to the labyrinth of thieves' dens called the Maze, she bumped right into a young man in a City uniform, who said a nasty word.’
      • ‘With its small garden courtyard, the club looked, from the outside, more like an inconspicuous Renaissance home than a den of dance iniquity.’
      • ‘Telecommunications have demystified what once were foreboding dens of iniquity - put more simply, the city is a less scary place to be.’
      • ‘The point might have been better made if this Elizabethan underworld wasn't depicted in a way that makes the average children's nursery look like a den of iniquity.’
      haunt, site, patch, hotbed, cradle, nest, pit, hole
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  • 2US A small subdivision of a Cub Scout pack.

    • ‘Cub Scouting members join a Cub Scout pack and are assigned to a den, usually a neighborhood group of six to eight boys.’
    • ‘Once a month, all of the dens and family members gather for a pack meeting under the direction of a Cubmaster and pack committee.’

verb

[no object]
  • (of a wild animal) live in a den.

    ‘the cubs denned in the late autumn’
    • ‘A decline in body condition will reduce the proportion of pregnant females that are able to initiate denning.’
    • ‘Two of the three largest known polar bear denning areas are on Wrangel Island and the Svalbard Archipelago.’
    • ‘The area is so important for denning and spring forage that the Forest Service closes its access road from April 1 through July 30.’
    • ‘African wild dogs den during the winter, from June to August, and on chilly July mornings the pups would huddle together until the urge to play overtook them.’
    • ‘Polar bears denning in the area of the Simpson Peninsula, Nunavut’
    • ‘Unlike the activities of the woodpeckers, a raccoon that denned in a hollow on the Indiana myotis roost tree made clear attempts to capture bats as they exited the roost.’
    • ‘This time he would stay until the snows came, to make sure the cubs denned up.’
    • ‘Even within areas females are familiar with, there may be changes in the habitat available for maternity denning.’
    • ‘Thus, we suspect that further searching for older den sites will confirm a longer history of maternity denning in this area than we have been able to confirm to date.’
    • ‘We identified 617 disturbances on 72 trees that occurred during the time of year when polar bears were denning in the area and which we were unable to attribute to any other source.’
    • ‘It is not clear whether, or where, those bears were denning before their return.’
    • ‘Harington reported that extremely hard snow or very soft snow was unsuitable for denning.’
    • ‘The refuge also provides a year-round home for Musk oxen, a summer home to many migratory bird species, and is the largest polar bear denning area on land in the United States.’
    • ‘We attempted to enter the dens of all radio-collared females that denned with yearlings during the 2000 den season.’
    • ‘Polar bears denning in Norway and Russia near the North Pole carry some of the highest levels of toxic compounds ever found in living animals.’
    • ‘‘The coastal plain is the most significant on-land polar bear denning habitat in the U.S.,’ says the Wilderness Society.’
    • ‘Most populations rely on terrestrial habitats for maternity denning and some take refuge on land in areas where the sea ice melts completely during summer.’
    • ‘Litter size was denned as the highest number of pups observed at any visit, which must be regarded as a minimum number.’
    • ‘We don't seem to see the same number of adult females and cubs as we used to in denning areas.’
    • ‘Yearlings in both families rejoined the adult females after breakup and denned with their mothers as 2-year-olds.’

Origin

Old English denn, of Germanic origin; related to German Tenne ‘threshing floor’, also to dene.

Pronunciation

den

/dɛn/