dern

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dern, derne, from Old English dyrne, dierne (secret), from Proto-Germanic *darniją (secret), from Proto-Indo-European *dher(ǝ)-, *dhrē- (to hold, hold tight, support). See below.

Noun[edit]

dern (plural derns)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal) A secret; secrecy.
  2. (now chiefly dialectal) A secret place; hiding.
  3. (now chiefly dialectal) An obscure language.
  4. (now chiefly dialectal) Darkness; obscurity.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English dern, derne, from Old English dyrne, dierne (hidden, secret, retired, obscure, remote, eluding detection, concealed, deceitful, evil, magical), from Proto-Germanic *darnijaz (hidden, masked), from Proto-Indo-European *dher(ǝ)-, *dhrē- (to hold, hold tight, support). Cognate with Old Frisian dern, dren (hidden, secret), Old Saxon derni (hidden, secret), Old High German tarni (hidden).

Adjective[edit]

dern (comparative more dern, superlative most dern)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal) Hidden; secret; private.
    • Dr. H. More, Immortal, of the Soul
      Now with their backs to the den's mouth they sit, / Yet shoulder not all light from the dern pit.
    • J. R. Drake, Culprit Fay
      Through dreary beds of tangled fern, / Through groves of nightshade dark and dern.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English dernen, dærnen, from Old English dyrnan, diernan (to keep secret, conceal, hide, restrain, repress, hide oneself), from Proto-Germanic *darnijaną (to conceal), from Proto-Indo-European *dher(ǝ)-, *dhrē- (to hold, hold tight, support). Cognate with Old Saxon dernian (to conceal), German tarnen (to camougflage, disguise). See also darn, tarnish.

Verb[edit]

dern (third-person singular simple present derns, present participle derning, simple past and past participle derned)

  1. (transitive, now chiefly dialectal) To hide; secrete, as in a hole.
    He at length escaped them by derning himself in a fox-earth. ― H. Miller.
  2. (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal) To hide oneself; skulk.
    But look how soon they heard of Holoferne / Their courage quail'd, and they began to derne. ― T. Hudson.

Etymology 4[edit]

Uncertain.

Noun[edit]

dern (plural derns)

  1. (UK, dialect) A gatepost or doorpost.
    So I just put my eye between the wall and the dern of the gate, and I saw him come up to the back door.., Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho!, Ch. XIV, How Salvation Yeo Slew the King of the Gubbings.

Old Irish[edit]

Verb[edit]

·dern

  1. first-person singular present subjunctive prototonic ro-form of do·gní