See also: Dern



Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English dern, derne, from Old English dyrne, dierne (secret), from Proto-West Germanic *darnī (hidden, secret).


dern (plural derns)

  1. (obsolete) A secret; secrecy.
  2. (obsolete) A secret place; hiding.
  3. (obsolete) An obscure language.
  4. (obsolete) Darkness; obscurity.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English dern, derne, from Old English dyrne, dierne (hidden, secret, retired, obscure, remote, eluding detection, concealed, deceitful, evil, magical), from Proto-West Germanic *darnī (hidden, secret).


dern (comparative more dern, superlative most dern)

  1. (obsolete, dialectal) Hidden; secret; private.
    • 1659, 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.
    • 1819, J. R. Drake, The Culprit Fay
      Through dreary beds of tangled fern, / Through groves of nightshade dark and dern.

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English dernen, dærnen, from Old English dyrnan, diernan (to keep secret, conceal, hide, restrain, repress, hide oneself), from Proto-West Germanic *darnijan (to conceal), from *darnī (hidden, secret). Cognate with Old Saxon dernian (to conceal), German tarnen (to camougflage, disguise). See also darn, tarnish.


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

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To hide; secrete, as in a hole.
    • 1865, Hugh Miller, My schools and schoolmasters
      He at length escaped them by derning himself in a fox-earth.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To hide oneself; skulk.
    • 1584, Thomas Hudson, Judith
      But look how soon they heard of Holoferne / Their courage quail'd, and they began to derne.
Related termsEdit

Etymology 4Edit



dern (plural derns)

  1. (UK) A gatepost or doorpost.
    • 1855, Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho!, Ch. XIV, How Salvation Yeo Slew the King of the Gubbings
      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 []


Old IrishEdit



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