Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A dark, often underground chamber or cell used to confine prisoners.
  • n. A donjon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An underground prison or vault, typically built underneath a castle.
  • n. The main tower of a motte or castle; a keep or donjon.
  • n. An underground area inhabited by enemies, containing story objectives, treasure and bosses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A close, dark prison, commonly, under ground, as if the lower apartments of the donjon or keep of a castle, these being used as prisons.
  • transitive v. To shut up in a dungeon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To confine in or as in a dungeon.
  • n. The principal tower of a medieval castle.
  • n. Hence A close cell; a deep, dark place of confinement.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress
  • n. a dark cell (usually underground) where prisoners can be confined

Etymologies

Middle English donjon, castle keep, dungeon, from Old French, keep, probably from Medieval Latin domniō, domniōn-, the lord's tower, from Latin dominus, master; see dem- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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 *dungijō, *dungijōn (“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. (Wiktionary)

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