Etymology
Advertisement
dung (n.)

late Old English dung "manure, decayed matter used to fertilize soil," from Proto-Germanic *dungō (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon dung "manure;" Old High German tunga "manuring," tung "underground room covered with manure;" German Dung; Old Norse dyngja "heap of manure, women's apartment;" Swedish dynga "dung, muck;" Danish dynge "heap, mass, pile"), perhaps from a PIE *dhengh- "covering" (source also of Lithuanian dengti "to cover," Old Irish dingim "I press").

The word recalls the ancient Germanic custom (reported by Tacitus) of covering underground shelters with manure to keep in warmth in winter. The meaning "animal excrement," whether used as fertilizer or not, is from late 13c.

It appears that the whole body of journeymen tailors is divided into two classes, denominated Flints and Dungs: the former work by the day and receive all equal wages; the latter work generally by the piece ["The Annual Register for the Year 1824," London, 1825].

Dung beetle, common name of the beetles which roll up balls of dung," is attested by 1630s. In colloquial American English, tumble-bug. An Old English word for it was tordwifel "turd weevil."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
dung (v.)

"to cover with manure," Middle English dungen, from Old English gedyngan, from the noun (see dung (n.)). Related: Dunged; dunging.

Related entries & more 
dunghill (n.)

"a heap of dung," early 14c., from dung (n.) + hill (n.).

Related entries & more 
midden (n.)

mid-14c., midding, "dunghill, muck heap," a word of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish mødding, from møg "muck" (see muck (n.)) + dynge "heap of dung" (see dung). Modern archaeological sense of "prehistoric place for disposing of kitchen refuse, ashes, etc." is 19c., from Danish excavations.

Related entries & more 
dingy (adj.)

1736, in Kentish dialect, "dirty, foul," a word of uncertain origin, but perhaps related to dung. Meaning "soiled, tarnished, having a dull, brownish color" (from grime or weathering) is by 1751; hence "shabby, shady, drab" (by 1855). The noun dinge "dinginess" (1816) is a back-formation; as a derogatory word for "black person, Negro," by 1848. Related: Dingily; dinginess.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
scat (n.2)
"filth, dung," 1950, from Greek stem skat- "dung" (see scatology).
Related entries & more 
guano (n.)

c. 1600, from Spanish guano "dung, fertilizing excrement," especially of sea-birds on islands off Peru, from Quechua (Inca) huanu "dung."

Related entries & more 
stercoraceous (adj.)
"consisting of or pertaining to feces," 1731, from Latin stercus (genitive stercoris) "dung" (from metathesized form of PIE *skert-, extended form of root *sker- (4) "excrement, dung") + -aceous.
Related entries & more 
coprophagia (n.)

"the consumption of feces," 1885; Latinized from earlier coprophagy (q.v.), from Latinized form of Greek koprophagos "dung-eating," from kopros "dung" (see copro-) + -phagos "eating" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share").

Related entries & more 
merdivorous (adj.)

"feeding upon dung," 1856, from Modern Latin, from Latin merda "dung, excrement" (see merde) + -vorous. Perhaps based in French merdivores (by 1830).

Related entries & more