Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 459 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DOWN, a smooth rounded hill, or more particularly an expanse of high rolling ground bare of trees. The word comes from the Old English dun, hill. This is usually taken to be a Celtic word. The Gaelic and Irish dun and Welsh din are specifically used of a hill-fortress, and thus frequently appear in place-names, e.g. Dumbarton, Dunkeld, and in the Latinized termination—dunum, e.g. Lugdunum, Lyons. The Old Dutch dung, which is the same word, was applied to the drifted sandhills which are a prevailing feature of the south-eastern coast of the North Sea (Denmark and the Low Countries), and the derivatives, Ger. Dune, modern Dutch duin, Fr. dune, have this particular meaning. The English " dune " is directly taken from the French. The low sandy tracts north and south of Yarmouth, Norfolk, are known as the " Dunes," which may be a corruption of the Dutch or French words. From " down," hill, comes the adverb " down," from above, in the earlier form " adown," i.e. off the hill. The word for the soft under plumage of birds is entirely different, and comes from the Old Norwegian dun, cf. cedar-dun, eider-down. For the system of chalk hills in England known as " The Downs " see Downs.
End of Article: DOWN
DOWNES [D (o)UNAEUS], ANDREW (c. 1549-1628)

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