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90s Slang You Should Know


[damp] /dæmp/
adjective, damper, dampest.
slightly wet; moist:
damp weather; a damp towel.
unenthusiastic; dejected; depressed:
The welcoming committee gave them a rather damp reception.
moisture; humidity; moist air:
damp that goes through your warmest clothes.
a noxious or stifling vapor or gas, especially in a mine.
depression of spirits; dejection.
a restraining or discouraging force or factor.
verb (used with object)
to make damp; moisten.
to check or retard the energy, action, etc., of; deaden; dampen:
A series of failures damped her enthusiasm.
to stifle or suffocate; extinguish:
to damp a furnace.
Acoustics, Music. to check or retard the action of (a vibrating string); dull; deaden.
Physics. to cause a decrease in amplitude of (successive oscillations or waves).
Verb phrases
damp off, to undergo damping-off.
Origin of damp
1300-50; Middle English (in sense of def. 4); compare Middle Dutch damp, Middle High German dampf vapor, smoke
Related forms
dampish, adjective
dampishly, adverb
dampishness, noun
damply, adverb
dampness, noun
Can be confused
damp, moist (see synonym study at the current entry)
damp, dampen.
1. dank, steamy. 3. dankness, dampness, fog, vapor. 7. humidify. 8. slow, inhibit, restrain, moderate, abate.
1. dry.
Synonym Study
1.Damp, humid, moist mean slightly wet. Damp usually implies slight and extraneous wetness, generally undesirable or unpleasant unless the result of intention: a damp cellar; to put a damp cloth on a patient's forehead. Humid is applied to unpleasant dampness in the air: The air is oppressively humid today. Moist denotes something that is slightly wet, naturally or properly: moist ground; moist leather. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dampness
Historical Examples
  • The days are short, and in the evening dampness rises out of the vast plain, and hovers like smoke beneath the glowing sky.

    My Country Marie, Queen of Rumania
  • They observed that the walls were all of rough stone, but there was no feeling of dampness.

    Peak's Island Ford Paul
  • The dampness has not really gone but turned into another form and made the surrounding air a little more damp.

  • The dampness had only blurred the writing instead of erasing it.

    Ruth Fielding Down East Alice B. Emerson
  • As it was, the incessant chill and dampness of the weather had done his health no good.

  • Then she noticed the thinness of his clothing and its dampness.

    Before the Dawn Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • The faint odor of dampness, peculiar to rooms that have been long shut up, issued from the place, which was as dark as a tomb.

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
  • The dripping of water reached the ear; the smell of dampness the nostrils.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • The state-room was uncomfortable, though, strange to say, I could not smell the dampness which had annoyed me in the night.

    The Upper Berth Francis Marion Crawford
  • Round these there were circles of dampness, showing that evaporation was taking place.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
British Dictionary definitions for dampness


slightly wet, as from dew, steam, etc
(archaic) dejected
slight wetness; moisture; humidity
rank air or poisonous gas, esp in a mine See also firedamp
a discouragement; damper
(archaic) dejection
verb (transitive)
to make slightly wet
(often foll by down) to stifle or deaden: to damp one's ardour
(often foll by down) to reduce the flow of air to (a fire) to make it burn more slowly or to extinguish it
(physics) to reduce the amplitude of (an oscillation or wave)
(music) to muffle (the sound of an instrument)
See also damp off
Derived Forms
dampish, adjective
damply, adverb
dampness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Middle Low German damp steam; related to Old High German demphen to cause to steam
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 dampness



late 14c., "to suffocate," from damp (n.). Figurative meaning "to deaden (the spirits, etc.)" attested by 1540s. Meaning "to moisten" is recorded from 1670s. Related: Damped; damping.



1580s, "dazed," from damp (n.). Meaning "slightly wet" is from 1706. Related: Dampness.



early 14c., "a noxious vapor," perhaps in Old English but there is no record of it. If not, probably from Middle Low German damp; ultimately in either case from Proto-Germanic *dampaz (cf. Old High German damph, German Dampf "vapor;" Old Norse dampi "dust"). Sense of "moisture, humidity" is first certainly attested 1706.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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