An item is any object that is tangible, easily movable, and not a creature. Items can include boulders, buckets, furniture, weapons, crafts, and other similar or even completely different objects. Most items can be stored in stockpiles via hauling, and a subset can additionally be stored in various containers, such as bags, bins, or barrels. Containers are, themselves, also items.
All items have a value, item type, material, and volume. From these, the weight of the item can be determined. Some items additionally have a quality. Many items can participate in reactions, and all but the raw materials and some animal extracts are the product of a reaction.
An item can be stored on the ground, in a creature's inventory, in a container, in a workshop, cabinet, or chest, or even as a building material for buildings and even constructions. Because of the wide variety of items and applications, there are varied ways to destroy items: waiting for rot, consuming them (either through ingestion or through a reaction), wearing them out, burning them, moving them off-screen, dropping them into a bottomless pit or magma flow, crushing them in a cave-in, or using a dwarven atom smasher.
 Named items
- See also: Legendary artifact
An item that is named in either fortress mode or adventure mode can arise from two circumstances: being created as a legendary artifact, or being named for a notable kill list. In fortress mode, named items will be listed in the artifact screen accessed from the key.
 Fortress mode
Items can be viewed in fortress mode from the loobrown (yellow when highlighted as the currently active item). When selected, can be used to view a brief description of the item, one that includes the weight, contents (if any), and name of an item. From there, can be used to obtain a detailed description of the item written in prose; this information includes the item type, any decorations, and other information.screen. They will, most of the time, be displayed in
 Adventure mode
Items are also tangible in adventure mode, where they are picked up with the backpack or other suitable container. All items can be thrown with the key as well. An item that is not a proper weapon can still be used in combat; the misc. object user skill is trained by this activity.key into either a free grasp or a
 Object testing arena
In the object testing arena, items are appointed from the creature creation screen, accessed through then in the non-controlling view. There, is used to add an item, and after selecting an appointed item used to remove it and , , , and keys used to control the amount.
Items in the arena are displayed according to whether or not a creature is currently controlled; in the controlling view, the display is similar to that of adventure mode and in the non-controlling view similar to fortress mode.
Only certain items can be appointed in the arena. Aside from objects obtained from creatures or butchering, and their derivatives, only weapons and training weapons, tools, ammunition, and armor can be created.