Definition of den in English:



  • 1A wild animal's lair or habitation.

    • ‘The new focus on animal burrows and dens places the police in the difficult position of explaining why these were not searched more thoroughly.’
    • ‘Four days later, Shenk's team finds two more kittens at another high-altitude den.’
    • ‘He had a dank odor about him like the smell of a wild animal's den.’
    • ‘Animal dens were encountered on the east rib, indicating that the pocket had another opening and would, we hoped, increase in size.’
    • ‘He pauses for a moment to watch a lizard climb up the trunk of the tree and stick its head into the hoopoe's den.’
    • ‘The three females at this den were not seen with the pups at the same time.’
    • ‘Males and females mass together in the same dens, emerging from hibernation between late April and the end of May.’
    • ‘Nesting dens consist of two or three chambers lined with vegetation.’
    • ‘Direct consequences of disturbing maternal dens may include den abandonment and mortality of young.’
    • ‘During this ‘over-wintering period,’ the rattlesnakes don't hunt and rarely emerge from their den.’
    • ‘Eventually the bears were tranquilized Monday and moved to another den within their habitat, in hopes the pair would nod off to sleep again for another month.’
    • ‘On one such dive we see an abundance of lobsters which, quite unflustered, come out of their dens to observe us up close, not hesitating to touch my dome port with their antennae.’
    • ‘It had obviously been used as a den by various animals in the past, but it seemed to be unoccupied at the moment.’
    • ‘After parturition, pups remain in the den for approximately 30 days, and group members baby-sit the pups.’
    • ‘We aren't too deep in the forest, and more often than not, the wild beasts do not come this far out from their lairs and dens.’
    • ‘In one set of trials, the researchers left variously colored concrete bricks and tiles around the animals' underwater dens for a few days, until they became accustomed to the objects.’
    • ‘When autumn arrived, so did a few thousand garter snakes, returning to their traditional winter den.’
    • ‘The girls were taught how to find the animals' dens and how to lay the traps.’
    • ‘During the 20th to 77th day, the pups leave the den for the first time and learn to play fight.’
    • ‘Pups leave the den 4 or 5 weeks after birth and are fully weaned by 8 to 10 weeks.’
    lair, sett, earth, drey, lodge, burrow, hole, tunnel, cave, dugout, hollow, covert, shelter, hiding place, hideout
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    1. 1.1informal A small, comfortable room in a house where a person can pursue an activity in private.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sean was in the den relaxing when he called out to me in the kitchen as I was preparing dinner.’
      • ‘Had my father lived, he might have sought my advice the way Nancy's seeks hers, confiding his conflicts in private, in his den.’
      • ‘Gabrielle entered what seem to be a den or second living room.’
      • ‘This room would also make an ideal den or music room for teenagers, as it is well away from the main reception area.’
      • ‘She turned at the bottom of the stairs and passed through the den to the family room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No one was in the living room, or the den, so I headed for the kitchen.’
      • ‘So I looked on other shelves in the living room, in the den, in the bedroom, and in my office downstairs.’
      • ‘When my oldest daughter left home, I decided to turn her room into a small den.’
      • ‘This bedroom has both a bay and Velux window and could suit a variety of uses such as a den or games room.’
      • ‘After dinner the whole family split up between the den, family room and basement.’
      • ‘LeeAnne doubled back and we all went through the living room into a den, which had been set up with streamers and things.’
      • ‘Kyle stood and led the two out of the family room into the den, where all of his equipment was stored.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was about ten at night so everyone had already retired to their rooms or the den.’
      • ‘Opposite the dining side of the living room is the den, entered by a wide doorway flanked by interior windows.’
      study, studio, library
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    2. 1.2A place where people meet in secret, typically to engage in some illicit activity.
      ‘an opium den’
      ‘a den of iniquity’
      • ‘He was sent undercover into the dens of iniquity that made the city famous.’
      • ‘George and Tony took the gang back to their secret den to discuss what to do next.’
      • ‘The commission has been looking into a myriad of claims centring on the fixing of races, bribery and gambling dens.’
      • ‘Escaping to one of the ‘safe’ homes you find a den of thieves who trick you into handing over all your cash.’
      • ‘Now, it has descended into a public den of iniquity used by local youths who have no sense of propriety.’
      • ‘With its small garden courtyard, the club looked, from the outside, more like an inconspicuous Renaissance home than a den of dance iniquity.’
      • ‘Not all entertainment businesses which cater to young people are dens of iniquity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The City had obtained search warrants for various sites suspected of being dens of criminal activity, said communication's officer for the city.’
      • ‘These are usually rather dark dens of iniquity, in my experience, but not so here.’
      • ‘They alleged that surveillance indicated the venue was a den of iniquity and a haven for drug users and underage drinkers.’
      • ‘It could be a special spot in the woods, or a secret den that you've built with friends.’
      • ‘Bombed-out buildings house dens of illicit commerce, while bridges and river banks swarm with a second society.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The building was old and derelict, a suitable place for a den of thieves.’
      • ‘But Scrushy's incompetence went far beyond allowing a den of thieves to run amok in the finance department.’
      • ‘The bar was condemned anew as a den of iniquity, black with the sins of alcohol and secondhand smoke.’
      • ‘Telecommunications have demystified what once were foreboding dens of iniquity - put more simply, the city is a less scary place to be.’
      • ‘Here some doctors worked clandestinely for the separatists and turned it into a den of separatist conspiracies.’
      • ‘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.’
      haunt, site, patch, hotbed, cradle, nest, pit, hole
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    3. 1.3US 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.’


  • (of a wild animal) live in or retreat to a den.

    ‘the cubs denned in the late autumn’
    • ‘We attempted to enter the dens of all radio-collared females that denned with yearlings during the 2000 den season.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yearlings in both families rejoined the adult females after breakup and denned with their mothers as 2-year-olds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘The coastal plain is the most significant on-land polar bear denning habitat in the U.S.,’ says the Wilderness Society.’
    • ‘Two of the three largest known polar bear denning areas are on Wrangel Island and the Svalbard Archipelago.’
    • ‘Litter size was denned as the highest number of pups observed at any visit, which must be regarded as a minimum number.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even within areas females are familiar with, there may be changes in the habitat available for maternity denning.’
    • ‘This time he would stay until the snows came, to make sure the cubs denned up.’
    • ‘A decline in body condition will reduce the proportion of pregnant females that are able to initiate 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Polar bears denning in the area of the Simpson Peninsula, Nunavut’
    • ‘We don't seem to see the same number of adult females and cubs as we used to in denning areas.’
    • ‘The area is so important for denning and spring forage that the Forest Service closes its access road from April 1 through July 30.’
    • ‘Harington reported that extremely hard snow or very soft snow was unsuitable for denning.’
    • ‘It is not clear whether, or where, those bears were denning before their return.’


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