Main definitions of dun in English

: dun1dun2dun3

dun1

adjective

  • 1Of a dull greyish-brown colour.

    ‘a dun cow’
    • ‘Colours (ochre, sand and white) are taken from pre-Columbian and colonial houses, and are intended to respond to the endless layers of dry dun dust that blow up and down the coast.’
    • ‘After we ate, the servants readied our horses and we rode together, me on Mercy and he on a dun mare.’
    • ‘Beyond the river the dun slopes of Creag Dhubh, the black crag, rose in steady tiers to form an isolated hill cut off from the main Monadh Liath plateau by the broad valley of the Calder.’
    • ‘Tufts of balding, meager dun hair sprouted out from the man's scalp in every possible direction like a windblown bush, followed by wide, tangled eyebrows and small, beady, madly darting eyes which bulged from within a round, bloated face.’
    • ‘Into this dun world steps the elegant and cultured woman with vague ambitions to ‘tame inner-city thugs with recitations of poetry.’’
    • ‘Realizing there was no chance of escape the struggling, captive woman dropped to her knees and glanced about, small eyes darting for a sympathetic face among the feral leers, limp dun hair lank against her fleshy, scantily clad back.’
    • ‘She shifted uneasily beside him, and looked up the road again as he came trotting back astride his dun mare; he shook his head long before he reached them, and dismounted a few paces off.’
    • ‘In literature the era of ‘offensively Australian’ nationalism and tediously dun naturalism was over.’
    • ‘That first look down the length of the boardwalk, the black line of trees between sunset-fired sky and swamp, the dun bulk of a wild pony in the scrub or a heron's pose in a field of reeds… the moment is unique, but it moves all of us just the same.’
    • ‘He pointed to a dun lionhead that lumbered peaceful as a blimp.’
    • ‘Accepting the cup, she deftly uncorked the bottle and proceeded to cautiously shake finely ground, dun colored grains into the water.’
    • ‘But what I saw was a peaceful landscape dotted with one man ploughing with a dun mule.’
    • ‘The stark, dun hills of the Hindu Kush cradled plots of corn, beans and potatoes.’
    • ‘California fog provides a unifying tonalist palette, especially in the dry season when the hills are dun colored.’
    • ‘I gazed down upon the old quarter, a collage of dun roofs, domes and vaults, pencil and square minarets, ugliness and elegance.’
    • ‘Finally, he chuckled, and moved his own dun gelding up abreast of hers.’
    • ‘Like the others, she had exchanged her ball gown for a suit of dun deerskin, with a tall forester's cap, in which was affixed a long purple feather, which commingled with her black hair and nearly disappeared in it.’
    • ‘In summer, the watercourse provides a green belt that distinguishes the town from the dun expanse that surrounds it.’
    • ‘The prevailing greyish dun distances were relieved by colour, by small spots of cheerful intimacy in patches of cultivation the more precious for being sustained in such arduous circumstances.’
    • ‘This book is an unremitting account of misery, privation, and pointlessness in a world of dun landscapes, tormenting insects, malnutrition, and cultural stagnancy.’
    greyish-brown, brownish, dun-coloured, mud-coloured, mouse-coloured, mousy, muddy, khaki, umber
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1literary Dark or dusky.
      ‘when the dun evening comes’

nounPlural duns

  • 1mass noun A dull greyish-brown colour.

    • ‘A mutt the colour of dun stood near by, barking every now and again.’
    • ‘Surrounding the cone on three sides were high walls of volcanic rock forming an amphitheater almost a mile and a half wide, a subtle palette of dun, gray, and beige.’
  • 2A horse with a sandy or sandy-grey coat, black mane, tail, and lower legs, and a dark dorsal stripe.

    • ‘He laid the blanket on the back of the gaunt dun, moving his mouth - talking?’
    • ‘Three women were working in the kitchen and a man was sitting at the table, sipping black coffee from a cup bigger than the dun's hoof.’
    • ‘A white-fire blaze rang past her ear, and impacted the ground three paces before his gelding - the dun nickered it's anger at being so rudely startled, and danced around a moment.’
    • ‘Two of his mares were hitched to it; a cream dun and a paint.’
    • ‘She was his mount, a unicorn mare with a dun's coat.’
    • ‘He crowed, bringing the dun, Kai, to a skidding halt just feet away from her.’
    • ‘They were roans, grullas and duns, he said.’
    • ‘The two stallions, a dun and a bay, were bred in Scotland by breeder and judge from Stirlingshire.’
    • ‘‘You were jumping so beautifully, and Minty looked so wonderful,’ she whispered, her fingers knotted in the sheets as she leaned close, speaking of his show-jumper, the gorgeous dun, ‘The triple.’’
    • ‘The Indians ride bareback on paints (white horses with dark colored markings) and duns (grayish brown horses) with snaffle bridles.’
  • 3A subadult mayfly, which has drab coloration and opaque wings.

    • ‘But they can live for a week in the preceding stage, as winged, asexual duns; and before then, some live underwater for two or three years as nymphs.’
    • ‘I caught one of my biggest after-dark fish at this spot late one night on a fly that imitates a pale evening dun.’
    • ‘We went over nymphing tactics to start with and then, when the fish started rising to the duns, we started dry fly fishing.’
    • ‘Trout rise to the surface to feed first on the duns, and then again when the female spinners return to lay their eggs.’
    • ‘In July the three creeks - DePuy's, Nelson's, and Armstrong's - produce clouds of mayflies called pale morning duns, which draw monster rainbows to the surface.’
    • ‘A beautiful two pound rainbow spent the next couple of minutes trying its hardest to imitate one of the swallows that were gracefully taking duns from the surface.’
    • ‘Later they take the emerging fly, the hatched dun (or ‘green drakes’) and the ovipositing (egg laying) spinner.’
    • ‘In mid-August, large hatches of a nighttime mayfly called the pale evening dun begin to appear.’
    1. 3.1 An artificial fishing fly made to resemble a dun.

Origin

Old English dun, dunn, of Germanic origin; probably related to dusk.

Pronunciation

dun

/dʌn/

Main definitions of dun in English

: dun1dun2dun3

dun2

verbdunned, dunning, duns

[with object]
  • Make persistent demands on (someone), especially for payment of a debt.

    ‘after he left Oxford he was frequently dunned for his debts’
    • ‘She also collected small sums from people who owed her husband, including another female friend, whom she dunned for $20.’
    • ‘The Vendome incident would haunt him for a long time, since well after he had served his prison sentence the Republican government would be dunning him for 500,000 francs, the cost of restoring the column.’
    • ‘Indeed, the biblical law is that debtors may not be dunned for repayment.’
    • ‘It wasn't a charity deal: Like other pro runners, the Elites would still have to pay 15 percent of their prize money, endorsements, and appearance fees, and once they started earning they'd also be dunned for rent.’
    • ‘They even tried to dun me while I was in the hospital!’
    • ‘Aside from the fact that no one will let us have anything on credit - save for the butcher and baker, which will also cease at the end of this week - I am being dunned for the school fees, the rent, and by the whole gang of them.’
    • ‘He invoiced the corporations for product placement, and when he went on tour to promote the book, he read a selection of the past-due letters he'd written, dunning the corporations for nonpayment.’
    • ‘Yet, they don't mind dunning parents when scofflaw children can't pay their bills.’
    • ‘The fliers included information about gun safety and dunned recipients for donations to the partnership, which helped lead efforts to ban concealed carry permits.’
    • ‘The tax dunned chemical and oil companies, among other industries, for money to clean up ‘orphan’ Superfund sites - sites whose owners have absconded or have gone bankrupt.’
    • ‘Hospitals and doctors were dunning them for $15,000 in unpaid claims.’
    • ‘Have I decided to stop dunning you for contributions?’
    • ‘Simple - until the losses get so high that the suppliers can't be dunned to fill out the OE profit projections, it's a case of ‘let the good times roll.’’
    • ‘When the Republic took a village, they would allow the landlord to dun the peasants for the lost money, something which hardly endeared the ‘democratic’ regime to its new citizens.’
    • ‘They had been dunning me for a £10 bill I had naively thought I would leave to the next serious accounting.’
    • ‘In trying to dun the states, the cigarette giants are invoking a little-noticed clause in the 1998 deal.’
    • ‘But to fund its new law, Maryland needs to dun taxpayers across the state an extra $1.3 billion a year.’
    importune, solicit, petition, press, pressurize, plague, pester, nag, harass, hound, badger, beset
    View synonyms

nounPlural duns

archaic
  • 1A debt collector or an insistent creditor.

    1. 1.1 A demand for payment.
      • ‘They start off with a dun from distributors for $2 at the door.’

Origin

Early 17th century (as a noun): from obsolete Dunkirk privateer, from the French port of Dunkirk.

Pronunciation

dun

/dʌn/

Main definitions of dun in English

: dun1dun2dun3

dun3

nounPlural duns

Archaeology
  • A stone-built fortified settlement in Scotland or Ireland, of a kind built from the late Iron Age to the early Middle Ages. The word is a frequent place-name element in Scotland and Ireland.

    • ‘Swindon - derived from the Saxon words swine dun meaning pig hill - was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but it was not until the late 13 th century that it grew into a small town with a weekly market.’
    • ‘The presence of an Iron Age dun on its western edge suggests that it also had a much earlier sentinel role.’
    • ‘Brochs, duns and wheel-houses can all be seen on South Uist, many of them on islands in the lochs.’

Origin

Late 18th century: from Irish dún, Scottish Gaelic dùn ‘hill or hill fort’.

Pronunciation

dun

/dʌn/