Definition of dungeon in US English:



  • 1A strong underground prison cell, especially in a castle.

    • ‘The origin of Coup d' Etat is obscure, but it is believed that the game was first played by political prisoners in the dungeons of France over two centuries ago.’
    • ‘‘We will be wed this very night, unless you wish to find yourself in the castle dungeon before dawn,’ I told him.’
    • ‘And down here he entertained himself - torturing his prisoners in the dungeons.’
    • ‘The slaves pulled a lever and a trap door opened in the floor to reveal an underground dungeon filled with hundreds of human prisoners.’
    • ‘The savior continued to recite his chant in front of every cell in the dungeon until everyone was free.’
    • ‘The underground dungeon wasn't guarded at all.’
    • ‘After they had explored the library he had taken her down into the kitchens for lunch before taking her deeper into the castle to see the dungeons which were exactly what Olivia would have imagined.’
    • ‘She miraculously encountered the prison dungeon and entered to get some answers.’
    • ‘The interesting bits of the castle - the dungeons and the old parts underneath - could be used for tours but they're not.’
    • ‘Joseph, a prisoner in Pharaoh's dungeons, of whom it is testified that he had skill in interpreting dreams, is brought forth to offer his interpretation.’
    • ‘The princess will be taken to her old cell in the dungeon.’
    • ‘For the past seventeen years he has been kept prisoner in the castle dungeons.’
    • ‘I do need someone to bring food for the savage prisoners in the dungeons, you know.’
    • ‘He let out a scream - the same scream she'd heard twelve years ago coming from far below in the castle's dungeons.’
    • ‘One level above the watery dock were the prisons, or dungeons, where in times of old, only true criminals were held.’
    • ‘Each corridor was lined with slave cells and dungeons.’
    • ‘What goes on inside the CIA facilities, closer to medieval dungeons than modern prisons, can only be guessed at.’
    • ‘Does such an act signify an attempt to erase the brutal history of the castles and the dungeons beneath them?’
    • ‘One of their catches gets kept in the dungeon of their castle, to be sucked and dined on nightly.’
    • ‘Yes, our marriage took place in a castle whose dungeons were once crowded to suffocation with unfortunate natives, awaiting the auction block and the white traders from Europe and America.’
    underground cell, underground prison, oubliette
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    1. 1.1 (in fantasy role-playing games) a labyrinthine subterranean setting.
      • ‘Through the use of quests, of which there are many (continually updated by the developers), you can navigate to dungeons or planned events full of monsters.’
      • ‘It is possible to fight as many as a thousand creatures in one dungeon.’
      • ‘As well as the enormous amount of game play with nine dungeons, there were also upgrades.’
      • ‘Whether one is driving on a race track or righting fantasy creeps in pseudo-medieval dungeons, one always has to be on guard.’
      • ‘Work your way up an immense tower's dungeons, blasting baddies and acquiring weapons.’
      • ‘The underground dungeon, for example, is the equivalent to a new ‘spawning’ area in an online game.’
      • ‘These vault quests are pre-set dungeons that are tailored to your level.’
      • ‘The problem with this wilderness map is that you tend to get lost and that you have no idea which dungeon is adequate for your power and experience.’
      • ‘Searching through one random dungeon after the next, hoping to find treasure of one sort or another, all the while hacking and blasting away on all sorts of enemies is great.’
      • ‘The dungeon disappeared, many characters acquired new powers, and new restrictions on placement appeared, allowing cards to be combined.’
      • ‘Instead of building a fantasy-themed dungeon, you carve your lair out of volcanoes on tropical islands and manage henchmen and minions.’
      • ‘The game takes place in one city with one lone dungeon.’
      • ‘You may also distribute your loot this way in order to make sure you can take everything not bolted down from every dungeon in the game.’
      • ‘A thrilling and highly intuitive, but slightly simplistic boss fight awaits him at the end of each dungeon.’
    2. 1.2
      archaic term for donjon


[with object]literary
  • Imprison (someone) in a dungeon.


Middle English (also with the sense ‘castle keep’): from Old French (perhaps originally with the sense ‘lord's tower’ or ‘mistress tower’), based on Latin dominus ‘lord, master’. Compare with donjon.