One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of a group of North American peoples of the Canadian North-West and Alaska, traditionally speaking Athabaskan languages, and having collective representation in Canadian political life.
- ‘Dene were the first people to settle in what is now the Northwest Territories.’
- ‘Most Dene, most of the time, dress in clothing very like that worn in rural areas elsewhere in Canada.’
2mass noun Any of the Athabaskan languages of the Dene.
- ‘Several Athabaskan languages are official languages in the Northwest Territories, including Dene Suline, Dogrib or Tlicho, Gwichin, and Slavey.’
- ‘Since Sapir, linguists have linked the Na-Dene languages to Asian languages, but their work is not conclusive.’
Relating to the Dene or their languages.
- ‘The pro-Native political message in the performance struck a chord with the Dene man.’
- ‘For some Dene language groups there are at present competing writing systems and different spelling practices.’
- ‘In 2002, 32 athletes went to the games in Iqaluit and Nuuk, and won 20 medals, nine in the Inuit games and 11 in the Dene games.’
From French Déné, from an Athabaskan word meaning ‘people’.
usually in place names A vale, especially the deep, narrow wooded valley of a small river.‘Rottingdean’‘Deepdene’
- ‘Dene is a word from Northumbrian English used in Northumberland and Durham to refer to a steep-sided wooded valley through which a burn runs.’
- ‘Set within a spectacular incised valley, Holywell Dene is the only area of ancient semi-natural woodland remaining within North Tyneside.’
Old English denu, of Germanic origin; related to den.
A bare sandy tract or low sandhill by the sea.
- ‘Foxholes Dene is one of the steepest and deepest of the denes along this stretch of coast...’
- ‘The Dene and wide flat sandy beaches of Crimdon became very popular with holiday makers and day trippers’
Middle English: perhaps of Germanic origin and related to dune.
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