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From Middle English dungeon, dungeoun, dungun ‎(castle keep, prison cell below the castle, dungeon), from Old French donjon ‎(castle keep), from Frankish *dungjo ‎(prison, dungeon, underground cellar), from Proto-Germanic *dungijǭ ‎(enclosed space, vault, bower, treasury), from Proto-Germanic *dungaz, *dungō ‎(dung, manure), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰengʰ- ‎(to cover). Cognate with Old English dung ‎(prison, dungeon), Old Saxon dung ‎(underground cellar), Old High German tung ("underground cellar"; > German Tunk ‎(manure or soil covered basement, underground weaving workshop)), Old Norse dyngja ("a detached apartment, a lady's bower"; > Icelandic dyngja ‎(chamber)). More at dung.

The game term has been popularized by Dungeons & Dragons.



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dungeon ‎(plural dungeons)

  1. An underground prison or vault, typically built underneath a castle.
    • Macaulay
      Year after year he lay patiently in a dungeon.
  2. (obsolete) The main tower of a motte or castle; a keep or donjon.
  3. (games) An area inhabited by enemies, containing story objectives, treasure and bosses.


Derived terms[edit]


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