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[dam-puh n] /ˈdæm pən/
verb (used with object)
to make damp; moisten:
to dampen a sponge.
to dull or deaden; depress:
to dampen one's spirits.
damp (def 10).
verb (used without object)
to become damp.
Origin of dampen
First recorded in 1620-30; damp + -en1
Related forms
dampener, noun
undampened, adjective
Can be confused
damp, dampen, moist (see synonym study at damp) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dampening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The rain came on just then and perhaps assisted in dampening their ardour.

  • The others were silent, all conscious of a dampening of enthusiasm.

  • This paper can be used only for dry printing, where it does not require any dampening at all.

    The Invention of Lithography Alois Senefelder
  • Kells always at this hour had a dampening effect upon his followers.

    The Border Legion Zane Grey
  • But this, instead of dampening the ardor of the inventor and his aides, only increased it.

    The Boy Scouts for Uncle Sam

    John Henry Goldfrap
  • However the signal worked, radar or not, that should be effective in dampening the signal.

    Tangle Hold F. L. Wallace
  • It was there he found her, crouching so close the water the foam was dampening her skirts.

    A Girl Of The Limberlost Gene Stratton Porter
British Dictionary definitions for dampening


to make or become damp
(transitive) to stifle; deaden
Derived Forms
dampener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dampening



1630s, "to dull or deaden" (of force, enthusiasm, ardor, etc.), from damp (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to moisten" is recorded from 1827. Related: Dampened; dampening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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