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[ded-n] /ˈdɛd n/
verb (used with object)
to make less sensitive, active, energetic, or forcible; weaken:
to deaden sound; to deaden the senses; to deaden the force of a blow.
to lessen the velocity of; retard:
to deaden the headway of a ship.
to make impervious to sound, as a floor.
verb (used without object)
to become dead.
Origin of deaden
First recorded in 1655-65; dead + -en1
Related forms
deadener, noun
undeadened, adjective
1. blunt, diminish, lessen, numb, dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for deaden
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ought she not to hold it apart, and to shield it with her hand to deaden its brightness?

  • Even concussion of the brain had failed to deaden the memory of that awful night.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • A little lamp black will serve to deaden the color of the paint.

    Apple Growing M. C. Burritt
  • It would cripple his energies, and deaden his desire for active employment.

    The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
  • Into a labyrinth now my soul would fly, But with thy beauty will I deaden it.

    Endymion John Keats
  • A caution when the vessel is luffed up to deaden her way, followed by "heave."

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • He was a masterful man and he refused to take drugs to deaden the pain.

    The Girl from Sunset Ranch Amy Bell Marlowe
  • In vain Brenton tried his best to deaden his senses to the lure of it; but it was of no use.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • From the time they began their work, every pains had been taken to deaden sounds.

    On the Irrawaddy G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for deaden


to make or become less sensitive, intense, lively, etc; damp or be damped down; dull
(transitive) to make acoustically less resonant: he deadened the room with heavy curtains
Derived Forms
deadener, noun
deadening, adjective
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 deaden

1660s "deprive of or diminish (some quality)," from dead (adj.) + -en (1). Earlier the verb was simply dead. Related: Deadened; deadening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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