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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dern \Dern\, n. [Etymol. uncertain.] A gatepost or doorpost. [Local Eng.]
--C. Kingsley.


Dern \Dern\, a. [See Dearn, a.]

  1. Hidden; concealed; secret. [Obs.] ``Ye must be full dern.''

  2. Solitary; sad. [Obs.]
    --Dr. H. More.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"secret, hidden" (obsolete), from Old English derne "concealed, secret, dark," from West Germanic *darnjaz (cognates: Old Saxon derni, Old Frisian dern "concealed, dark," Old High German tarni "secret, concealed, veiled").\n

\nAs a verb, "to conceal," from Old English diernan "to hide." Compare Old High German tarnjan "to conceal, hide;" German Tarnkappe, Tarnhelm "magical cap or helmet which turns the wearer invisible or allows him to assume any form." Related to dark (adj.). French ternir "to tarnish, to dull" apparently is a Germanic loan-word.\n


Etymology 1 n. 1 (context now chiefly dialectal English) A secret; secrecy. 2 (context now chiefly dialectal English) A secret place; hiding. 3 (context now chiefly dialectal English) An obscure language. 4 (context now chiefly dialectal English) darkness; obscurity. Etymology 2

  1. (context now chiefly dialectal English) hidden; secret; private. Etymology 3


  2. 1 (context transitive now chiefly dialectal English) To hide; secrete, as in a hole. 2 (context intransitive now chiefly dialectal English) To hide oneself; skulk. Etymology 4

    n. (context UK dialect English) A gatepost or doorpost.

Usage examples of "dern".

Next minute I heard a horse running, and glimpsed him tearing away through the bresh on a pinto mustang, setting his hoss like it was a red-hot stove, and dern him, he had my clothes in one hand!

One was an enforcer, apparently something akin to a cop, and the other was a portly Neanderthal roboticist named Dern.

You could be Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, or Laura Dern in Jurassic Park, you're easily beautiful enough.

But I told him we was going to look over the whole derned valley before we chosed a spot.

I was so derned disgusted I clumb onto Cap'n Kidd and shaken the dust of that there camp offa my boots, because I seen they was no gratitude in Yeller Dog.

I knowed it was one of them derned renegades which hid up in the hills and snuck down to steal, and I wasn't afraid none.

This is a derned hill-billy which murdered McGoorty and stole his clothes.

This is one of them derned outlaws which has denned up on Grizzly Mountain.

But I hoped to recover that derned gold yet, and get back in time to save a few lives.

And here I was in jail, with them fellers fixing to sell my horse whilst that derned thief swaggered around at large.

That's the tail of Daniel Webster, the finest derned razorback boar which ever trod the Humbolts!

Sometimes he would buck the derned cougar onto me, and pulling him loose from my hide was wuss'n pulling cockle-burrs out of a cow's tail.

From this he ariz dripping water, blood and profanity, and he shook a quivering fist at me and croaked: “You derned murderer!

I knowed if he got astraddle of that derned long-laigged bay gelding of his'n, he'd ride them pore infants down before they'd went ten miles.

Instead of being drawed up in a circle, with the men shooting from between the wheels and holding them bandits off like I expected, them derned wagons was strung out like they was heading back north.