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Definition dun

Etymology 1

From Middle English dun, dunne, from Old English dunn (“dun, dingy brown, bark-colored, brownish black”), from Proto-Germanic *dusnaz (“brown, yellow”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewh₂- (“to smoke, raise dust”). Cognate with Old Saxon dun (“brown, dark”), Old High German tusin (“ash-gray, dull brown, pale yellow, dark”), Old Norse dunna (“female mallard; duck”).

Alternative etymology derives the Old English word from Brythonic (compare Middle Welsh dwnn (“dark (red)”)), from Proto-Celtic *dusnos (compare Old Irish donn), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰews- (compare Old Saxon dosan (“chestnut brown”)). More at dusk.


dun (usually uncountable, plural duns)

  1. A brownish grey colour.

dun (not comparable)

  1. Of a brownish grey colour.

Etymology 2

Unknown; perhaps a variant of din. Several sources suggest origin from Joe Dun, the name of a bailiff known for arresting debtors, but this is controversial.


dun (plural duns)

  1. (countable) A collector of debts.
  2. An urgent request or demand of payment.

dun (third-person singular simple present duns, present participle dunning, simple past and past participle dunned)

  1. (transitive) To ask or beset a debtor for payment.
  2. (transitive) To harass by continually repeating e.g. a request.

Etymology 3

Uncertain; likely from the color.


dun (plural duns)

  1. (countable) A newly hatched, immature mayfly; a mayfly subimago.
  2. (countable, fishing) A fly made to resemble the mayfly subimago.

Etymology 4

From Irish dún or Scottish Gaelic dùn, from Proto-Celtic *dūnom (“fortress”). Cognate with Welsh dinas (“city”).


dun (plural duns)

  1. An ancient or medieval fortification; especially a hill-fort in Scotland or Ireland.
  2. (archeology) A structure in the Orkney or Shetland islands or in Scotland consisting of a roundhouse surrounded by a circular wall; a broch.

Etymology 5

See do.



  1. (nonstandard, informal) Eye dialect spelling of done: past participle of do
  2. (nonstandard, informal) Eye dialect spelling of don't: contraction of do + not.

Etymology 6

Likely from the color of fish so prepared.


dun (third-person singular simple present duns, present participle dunning, simple past and past participle dunned)

  1. (transitive, dated) To cure, as codfish, by laying them, after salting, in a pile in a dark place, covered with saltgrass or a similar substance.

Etymology 7

See dune.


dun (plural duns)

  1. A mound or small hill.

Etymology 8




  1. (humorous) Imitating suspenseful music.

Results 100 Words with the letters DUN

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