Definition of dense in US English:

dense

adjective

  • 1Closely compacted in substance.

    ‘dense volcanic rock’
    ‘swirling, dense smoke’
    • ‘This unusual tail is thick and rounded in appearance, completely covered with extremely dense hair.’
    • ‘He said that pasta's dense, compact nature means that it is digested more slowly than other starches.’
    • ‘Furthermore, in cultivated soils, dense compact subsoils frequently underlie the loosened topsoil.’
    • ‘The more dense and compacted the snow is the easier it will be to perform slides.’
    • ‘In other statements read to the court, neighbours described how they tried to get into the house to pull the children out, but were beaten back by the dense smoke and fierce heat.’
    • ‘Page's poems have suddenly entered our relationship: the moment is dense with meaning for me.’
    • ‘The fur of sea otters is very dense with an insulating underfur and a layer of long guard hairs over the top which trap a layer of air, adding further to the insulation.’
    • ‘Depleted uranium is an extremely dense substance derived from enriched uranium.’
    • ‘Rugosa roses make up a dense, compact hedge at the end of the garden without distracting from the sea view.’
    • ‘Then it's sent to a bale press, which compresses loose cotton into compact, dense bales.’
    • ‘Flames are essentially hot gases, and hot things rise because they are less dense than their surroundings.’
    • ‘A thick, dense cloud of smoke had moved into the streets, making the visibility hard on the roads.’
    • ‘Although his soundscapes are incredibly dense and compact, his compositions are not as hectic as they might seem.’
    • ‘They are so dense that a ‘sugar cube’ sized object of neutron star material would weigh as much as all of the people on Earth!’
    • ‘The long DNA chain is naturally compacted in a dense form in most biological systems.’
    • ‘The forest was filled with dense fog, so thick that I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me.’
    • ‘They create overly dense, complex, and detailed cartoon drawings that seem at once beautiful and menacing.’
    thick, heavy, opaque, soupy, murky, smoggy, impenetrable
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    1. 1.1 Having the constituent parts crowded closely together.
      ‘an estuary dense with marine life’
      • ‘It seems pointlessly dense with renegade and overlapping wood slats, all cracked and sullied.’
      • ‘Rainfall is heavy, and the area is dense with rain forests with mahogany, teak, and ebony trees.’
      • ‘It was slow work, for the trees were close, and in places dense with the bare vines and stalks of undergrowth.’
      • ‘Then you go back to work and suddenly the day is so dense with activity you feel as if you've done three or four days' worth of mindless tearing around in a few hours.’
      • ‘I fight past hoods and sleeves to the very back of the closet, where it is dense with obsolete clothing.’
      • ‘The very words ‘fruit cake’ suggest a heavy, rich and wintry confection, dense with dried fruits and redolent of brandy.’
      • ‘The show has become so dense with allusions to itself, the story lines so complicated, that no closure is possible within any one episode.’
      • ‘The roadsides in the burgeoning light are dense with Virginia creeper, and the speeding car shines like molten gold.’
      • ‘The airspace in which the aircraft is to be operated is dense with other aircraft and restrictions.’
      • ‘Not only is it empty, it's just as dense with galaxies as any other era in the history of the universe.’
      • ‘The fields, however, are dense with cows and sheep, every one of which will be slaughtered if the disease spreads this far.’
      • ‘The hills, so dense with madrone and manzanita they seem canopied in green, echo back.’
      • ‘Amid that sea of sand, islands of forest appear, dense with Sitka spruce and salal and evergreen huckleberry.’
      • ‘The sky is dense with numbered stars, seen through the cavernous central chamber of an observatory.’
      • ‘The content is detailed and dense with data; the approach is innovative and convincing.’
      • ‘The old indoor market is struggling and its doors are dense with graffiti, like every unwatched surface.’
      • ‘As it turns out, your ears are particularly dense with these pressure points.’
      • ‘It is a room dense with ornamentation, small sculptures and carvings.’
      • ‘We believed that there are many ways to be a boy, and we knew as well that manhood should be dense with possibilities and potential.’
      • ‘The air was dense with meandering mists that loomed ominously over the surface of the ocean.’
      close-packed, closely packed, tightly packed, closely set, thick, packed, crowded, crammed, jammed together, compressed, compacted, compact, solid, tight
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  • 2informal (of a person) stupid.

    • ‘Zimera noticed the tension in the room; even she wasn't dense enough not to notice it.’
    • ‘He must be the most egotistical, dense guy in the universe!’
    • ‘Either Meyer is completely dense and unable to understand this material, or he has chosen to lie.’
    • ‘Angry mindless drones swarm in and complain about the review because they're too dense to realize it's a joke.’
    • ‘I didn't know if he was dense, or just very determined to remain polite.’
    • ‘How in heaven did I end up in love with such a dense guy is a mystery to me.’
    • ‘If the theatre audience is dense and does not applaud, canned applause should stand in, on the ready.’
    • ‘I put on the fakest face, so even my extremely dense dad would notice.’
    • ‘The American agent looked at Logan as if he were a math teacher trying to explain a simple problem to a dense student.’
    • ‘Jason looked at me as if I was dense, ‘My relatives’ he explained after he got a blank look from me.’
    • ‘He wouldn't know why he was in trouble, he was so dense that way.’
    • ‘I know what she's doing but I act like I'm too dense to notice I'm getting the silent treatment.’
    • ‘Mr. Danielson sighed and spoke as a teacher patiently explaining something to some poor dense child.’
    • ‘After thinking about it for a while, the rather dense teacher said, ‘yes’.’
    • ‘Laurel sighed inwardly at how dense Jesse could be sometimes.’
    • ‘Sometimes I really believed that the guy was dense instead of the genius he was.’
    • ‘Her expression showed she thought she was dealing with someone too dense to understand a simple point.’
    • ‘Even a relatively dense dad like myself could sense that something was wrong.’
    • ‘Anya frowned at the English guy as if he were particularly dense.’
    • ‘Robert returned the look with one that said he thought his son was incredibly dense for not knowing.’
    stupid, unintelligent, ignorant, brainless, mindless, foolish, slow, slow-witted, dull-witted, witless, doltish, blockish, dunce-like, simple-minded, empty-headed, vacuous, vapid, half-witted, idiotic, moronic, imbecilic, obtuse, bovine, lumpish
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  • 3(of a text) hard to understand because of its complexity of ideas.

    • ‘Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood is melodious, lush, and dense with meaning.’
    • ‘The final piece is a blank canvas accompanied by a block of dense text larger than the work itself.’
    • ‘The text is dense, yet accessible to someone with only a fleeting knowledge of Greek myths.’
    • ‘She doesn't tuck clues away in boring thickets of dense verbiage.’
    • ‘The result is fascinating, but the text is so dense with information that it threatens to be heavy and lugubrious.’
    • ‘It means it's hardly surprising that, generally, people don't read long, dense texts espousing positions that are the opposite of their own.’
    • ‘The authors of the Enlightenment loved accessible fiction far more than dense treatises.’
    • ‘The prose style is tight, with an occasional touch of humour lurking beneath the dense text.’
    • ‘Once you've got past the first layer of the menu system, which uses a screen full of icons, the subsequent menus are dense lists of text.’
    • ‘This book is somewhat dense, but if you like big slabs of no-nonsense political history, it is a feast.’
    • ‘From time to time I get complaints that my writing is dense and hard to understand.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, the book is pretty dense, but it's not impenetrable.’
    • ‘While offering some clever observations, the resulting text is dense and difficult to follow.’
    • ‘With 650 pages packed with dense text, this is obviously designed for the Christmas market.’
    • ‘I believe the problem was that the paper was dense and hard to understand.’
    • ‘Though his novels are full of philosophy and history, they are rarely dense or pretentious.’
    • ‘If you are intelligent and disciplined enough to read dense books, then why do you lack faith in your own abilities to show discipline with a television set?’
    • ‘I love the Mahabharata: it's one of the most complex, meaning dense documents ever written.’
    • ‘But the text was so dense and so long that I imagine few people will have read it.’
    • ‘At 402 pages of clear type with little white space, this book is extremely dense.’
    impervious, impermeable, solid, thick, hard, unyielding, unbreakable, indestructible, puncture-proof, unpierceable, resistant
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Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin densus.

Pronunciation

dense

/dɛns//dens/