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

  • transitive v. To importune (a debtor) for payment: a dunning letter.
  • n. One that duns.
  • n. An importunate demand for payment.
  • n. An almost neutral brownish gray to dull grayish brown.
  • n. A fishing fly having this color.
  • n. A horse of this color.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brownish grey colour.
  • adj. Of a brownish grey colour.
  • Eye dialect spelling of don't.
  • n. A collector of debts.
  • v. To ask or beset a debtor for payment.
  • v. To harass by continually repeating e.g. a request.
  • n. A valley in the Himalayan foothills, e.g. Dehra Dun.
  • n. A newly hatched, immature mayfly.
  • v. Eye dialect spelling of done: simple past tense and past participle of do.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of a dark color; of a color partaking of a brown and black; of a dull brown color; swarthy.
  • n. A mound or small hill.
  • n. One who duns; a dunner.
  • n. An urgent request or demand of payment.
  • v. To ask or beset (e.g., a debtor), for payment; to urge importunately.
  • transitive v. To cure, as codfish, in a particular manner, by laying them, after salting, in a pile in a dark place, covered with salt grass or some like substance.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of a color partaking of brown and black; of a dull-brown color; swarthy.
  • Dark; gloomy.
  • n. A familiar name for an old horse or jade: used as a quasi-proper name (like dobbin).
  • To make of a dun or dull-brown color.
  • Especially To cure, as cod, in such a manner as to impart a dun or brown color. See dunfish.
  • To become of a dun color.
  • To make a loud noise; din.
  • To demand payment of a debt from; press or urge for payment or for fulfilment of an obligation of any kind.
  • n. One who duns; an importunate creditor, or an agent employed to collect debts.
  • n. A demand for the payment of a debt, especially a written one; a dunning-letter: as, to send one's debtor a dun.
  • n. A hill; a mound; a fortified eminence.
  • n. A dun-colored natural or artificial fly used in angling: as, the pale-olive dun, made with a body of hair from the polar bear; goose-dun, with a body of gray goose-pinion; blue dun, with a body of pale mole-fur.

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

  • v. treat cruelly
  • v. cure by salting
  • v. make a dun color
  • n. horse of a dull brownish grey color
  • adj. of a dull greyish brown to brownish grey color
  • n. a color or pigment varying around a light grey-brown color
  • v. persistently ask for overdue payment


Origin unknown.
Middle English, from Old English dunn, perhaps of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dun, dunne, from Old English dunn ("dun, dingy brown, bark-colored, brownish black"), from Proto-Germanic *dusnaz (“brown, yellow”), from Proto-Indo-European *dhūw- (“to smoke, raise dust”). Cognate with Old Saxon dun ("brown, dark"), Old High German tusin ("ash-gray, dull brown, pale yellow, dark"). (Wiktionary)
Unknown; perhaps a variant of din. (Wiktionary)
See done. (Wiktionary)
See don’t. (Wiktionary)



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  • They were eternally besetting, dunning, and tormenting me.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 11

    September 12, 2008