Main definitions of dene in English

: Dene1dene2dene3

Dene1

noun

  • 1A member of a group of American Indian peoples of the Canadian Northwest and Alaska, traditionally speaking Athabaskan languages, and having collective representation in Canadian political life.

    • ‘Most Dene, most of the time, dress in clothing very like that worn in rural areas elsewhere in Canada.’
    • ‘Dene were the first people to settle in what is now the Northwest Territories.’
  • 2Any of the languages of the Dene.

    • ‘Several Athabaskan languages are official languages in the Northwest Territories, including Dene Suline, Dogrib or Tlicho, Gwich’in, and Slavey.’
    • ‘Since Sapir, linguists have linked the Na-Dene languages to Asian languages, but their work is not conclusive.’

adjective

  • 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.’
    • ‘For some Dene language groups there are at present competing writing systems and different spelling practices.’
    • ‘The pro-Native political message in the performance struck a chord with the Dene man.’

Origin

From French Déné, from an Athabaskan word meaning people.

Main definitions of dene in English

: Dene1dene2dene3

dene2

(also dean)

noun

British
  • (usually in place names) a vale, especially the deep, narrow wooded valley of a small river.

    ‘Rottingdean’
    dean
    ‘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.’

Origin

Old English denu, of Germanic origin; related to den.

Main definitions of dene in English

: Dene1dene2dene3

dene3

noun

dialect
  • 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...’

Origin

Middle English: perhaps of Germanic origin and related to dune.