Definition of donjon in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdänjən/
Pronunciation: /ˈdənjən/


The great tower or innermost keep of a castle.
Example sentences
  • Thus, for example, while ‘brick houses’ or ‘timber - framed houses’ may indeed be found, ‘moats,’ ‘donjons,’ ‘cruck vaulting,’ or ‘keeps’ - all of which are discussed at several points in the text - cannot.
  • At Chepstow too, Roman tile and brick was deliberately re-used, here to form a conspicuous string course on the exterior of the Norman donjon that, with its echoes of imperial authority, faced into the unconquered lands of South Wales.
  • While one of the words most commonly identified with castles is ‘keep’, the term is virtually unknown in medieval documentation where the term donjon was generally used.


Middle English: variant of dungeon.

  • dungeon from Middle English:

    The word dungeon had two main senses when it was first used in the 14th century: ‘the great tower or keep of a castle’ and ‘an underground prison cell’. The first is now usually spelled donjon and regarded as a separate word. The core meaning was ‘lord's tower’, and the word goes back to Latin dominus ‘lord, master’, through which it is related to dame and danger.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: don·jon

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