One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of a group of North American peoples of the Canadian Northwest 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.’
2Any of the languages of the Dene.
- ‘Since Sapir, linguists have linked the Na-Dene languages to Asian languages, but their work is not conclusive.’
- ‘Several Athabaskan languages are official languages in the Northwest Territories, including Dene Suline, Dogrib or Tlicho, Gwichin, and Slavey.’
Relating to the Dene or their languages.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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’
- ‘Set within a spectacular incised valley, Holywell Dene is the only area of ancient semi-natural woodland remaining within North Tyneside.’
- ‘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.’
Old English denu, of Germanic origin; related to den.
A bare, sandy tract or low dune by the sea.
- ‘The Dene and wide flat sandy beaches of Crimdon became very popular with holiday makers and day trippers’
- ‘Foxholes Dene is one of the steepest and deepest of the denes along this stretch of coast...’
Middle English: perhaps of Germanic origin and related to dune.
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