From Middle English warenne, from Anglo-Norman and Old Northern French warenne (compare Old French guarenne, garenne (“game-park”)), probably ultimately from Frankish *warjan, from Proto-Germanic *warjaną (“ward off, defend against”); compare also Old French warir, guarir, a borrowing from this Germanic root. Alternatively from Gaulish *warrennā (“enclosed area”), from *warros (“stick, post”), Proto-Celtic *warrā (“post, prop”). 
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈwɒɹən/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈwɔɹən/
- Rhymes: -ɒɹən
warren (plural warrens)
- The system of burrows where rabbits live.
- 1986, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Australia), Australian Wildlife Research, page 332:
- The largest warren in group 9 had 10 entrances in use and 11 not in use.
- (figuratively) A mazelike place of passages and/or rooms in which it's easy to lose oneself; especially one that may be overcrowded.
- 1984, Brett : from Bloomsbury to New Mexico, page 265:
- We piled into Manchester's car, leaving mine at the gallery, and crossed town, striking off the main road and into a warren of dirt roads and adobe.
- 2000, Christiaan Louis Leipoldt, Stephen Gray, Stormwrack, page 26:
- Andrew had allowed her practically a free hand, and her interference had resulted in making the house a warren of rooms, connected by narrow corridors that meant much more work and worry for the housekeeper than the conventional model would have given.
- 2019 October 23, Paul Stephen delivers a progress report on London Underground's transformative Bank Station capacity upgrade, Rail, page 68:
- With demand having increased by almost 40% in the past ten years, overcrowding now threatens to reach occasionally dangerous levels on platforms and in the warren of narrow subterranean passageways between them and the surface.
- (archaic) The class of small game such as hare, pheasants, stoats, etc., as opposed to beasts of chase such as deer, bear, and foxes.
- 1598, folio 1:
- A forest is a certen territorie of wooddy grounds and fruitfull pasrues, priviledged for wild beast and foules of forest, chase, and warren to rest and abide in, in the safe protection of the king for his princely delight and pleasure, which territorie of ground, so priviledged, is meered and bounded with unremoveable marks, meeres, and boundaries, either known by matter of record or els by presceription;
- 1823, Thomas Burgeland Johnson, The Shooter's Companion, page 296:
- Free warren is a franchise , erected for the preservation or custody ( which the word signifies ) of beasts and fowls of warren; which , being feræ naturæ , every one had a natural right to kill as he could : but upon the introduction of the forest laws, at the period of the Norman conquest, these animals being looked upon as royal game and the sole property of our savage monarchs, this franchise of free-warren was invented to protect them; by giving the grantee a sole and exclusive power of killing such game so far as his warren extended, on condition of his preventing other persons. A man therefore that has the franchise of a warren, is in reality no more than a royal gamekeeper; but no man, not even a lord of a manor, could by common law justify sporting on another's soil, unless he had the liberty of free-warren.
- 1844, Archibald John Stephens, George Sharswood, The Law of Nisi Prius, page 2003:
- Grouse are not birds of warren ( 2 ); and trespass on a free warren will not lie for shooting them .
- 1867, John Scriven, A Treatise on Copyholds. Customary Freeholds, Ancient Demesne, and the Jurisdiction of Courts Baron and Courts Leet, page 477:
- The franchise of free warren is to be claimed only by grant from the crown, or by prescription which supposes such a grant (n); and the effect of it is, to vest in the grantee a property in such wild animals or inferior specieis of game as are deemed to beasts and fowls of warren (0).
- A place legally authorized for the keeping, breeding and hunting of beasts of warren, especially rabbits.
- 1823, Thomas Burgeland Johnson, The Shooter's Companion, page 296:
- 1845, Shakspeare's merry tales, page 5:
- And when the play was over, this John Adroyns in the evening departed from the market town to go home; and because he had there no change of clothing, he went forth in his devil's apparel; and his way lay through a warren of rabbits, belonging to a gentleman of the village, where he himself dwelt; at which time it happened that a priest, a vicar of the church, with two or three other idle fellows, brought with them a horse, a snare, and a ferret, to take the rabbits; and when the ferret was in the earth, and the snare set over the path where this John Adroyns should come, the priest and his fellows, seeing him coming, and considering they were in the devil's service, by stealing the rabbits though it was the devil indeed, ran away for fear.
- 1854, Robert Blakely, Shooting, page 159:
- Now warrenders tell us, and we are convinced of the fact from repeated experience, that if a wounded or dying rabbit get into a burrow, none of the living ones will ever pass it: they will die in their holes first; so that a single wounded or dead animal will cause the death of perhaps a score of their own kind in the same locality. This becomes a real loss to the proprietor of a warren.
- 1888, Richard John Lloyd Price, Rabbits for Profit and Rabbits for Powder, page 32:
- This warren is the flat at the summit of an exceedingly high mountain, and consists of, I think, the very worst land I ever saw in my life.
- 1898, James Edmund Harting, Alexander Innes Shand, The Rabbit, page 55:
- As to the privileges of an owner of a free warren, he may not only prosecute a trespasser who is in pursuit of beasts and fowls of warren, whether he be a stranger in the locality, or a tenant of lands within the limits of the free warren, but he may also kill any dogs found hunting in his warren, whether they are doing damage at the time or not.
- 1900, Great Britain. Public Record Office, Calendar of the Patent Rolls Preserved in the Public Record, page 102:
- Commission of oyer and terminer to Robert de Morle, John de Shardelowe, William Giffard and John de Hemenhale, on complaint by Edward de Monte Acuto that Giles de Wyngefeld, Ranulph de Wyngefeld and other broke his part at Ersham, co. Norfolk, hunted therein and in his free warren, fished in his several fishery there, carried away fish and deer with hares and rabbits from his warren, and assaulted his men and servants.
- (historical) The right to maintain and hunt an area of small beasts, similar to a free warren, but with certain limitations, such as restricting the right to hunt on parts of the land held by freeholders.
- 1845, John Smith Furlong, A Treatise on the Law of Landlord and Tenant, page 337:
- Free-warren confers the property in wild animals, and that property may be claimed (a) in the land of another, to the exclusion of the owner of the soil; for in ancient times persons summoned to parliament often obtaine from the Crown grants of warren in their demesne lands, comprising such parts of their manors or honours as then were, or might come into their actual possession; but the grant of warren(b) to a party in all his demsne lands, does not extend over the lands of freeholders of the manor, as such grants are construed strictly.
- 1910, The English Reports - Volume 110, page 1361:
- The defendant has pleaded a warren in gross: he does not make it appendant or appurtenant. He shews merely that Charles I. granted a free warren, as he might do.
- 1951, Keith Sydney Sayer Train, A Second Miscellany of Nottinghamshire Records, page 52:
- Henry de Greye claims to have many franchises in Toveton by Charter of King Henry, that is to say a warren.
- 1988, David Maxwell Walker, A Legal History of Scotland: The beginnings to A.D. 1286, page 379:
- Warren grants contained prohibitions on fishing more frequently than forest grants did.
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- warren at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Plural form of war
- Alternative form of