injury or harm that reduces value or usefulness: The storm did considerable damage to the crops.
damages, Law. the estimated money equivalent for detriment or injury sustained.
Often damages. Informal. cost; expense; charge: What are the damages for the lubrication job on my car?

verb (used with object), dam·aged, dam·ag·ing.

to cause damage to; injure or harm; reduce the value or usefulness of: He damaged the saw on a nail.

verb (used without object), dam·aged, dam·ag·ing.

to become damaged: Soft wood damages easily.

Origin of damage

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French, equivalent to dam (< Latin damnum damage, fine) + -age -age; see damn
Related formsdam·age·a·ble, adjectivedam·age·a·ble·ness, dam·age·a·bil·i·ty, noundam·ag·er, nounnon·dam·age·a·ble, adjectivepre·dam·age, noun, verb (used with object), pre·dam·aged, pre·dam·ag·ing.qua·si-dam·aged, adjectivere·dam·age, verb (used with object), re·dam·aged, re·dam·ag·ing.un·dam·age·a·ble, adjectiveun·dam·aged, adjective

Synonyms for damage

1. loss. 4. impair, hurt.

Synonym study

1. Damage, detriment, harm, mischief refer to injuries of various kinds. Damage is the kind of injury or the effect of injury that directly impairs appearance, value, usefulness, soundness, etc.: Fire causes damage to property. Detriment is a falling off from an original condition as the result of damage, depreciation, devaluation, etc.: Overeating is a detriment to health. Harm may denote either physical hurt or mental, moral, or spiritual injury: bodily harm; harm to one's self-confidence. Mischief may be damage, harm, trouble, or misfortune caused by a person, especially if maliciously: an enemy who would do one mischief.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for damage

Contemporary Examples of damage

Historical Examples of damage

  • Not only that, but he would get into trouble with Mr. Paine on account of the damage which it had received.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He felt morally bound to get it repaired, though he was guiltless of the damage.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • But the damage would not have happened if Will had not lent the boat to me.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • And remember that any damage you do to that tent you'll have to pay for.

  • I really feel like leaving the car there all night, but it would do a lot of damage.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

British Dictionary definitions for damage



injury or harm impairing the function or condition of a person or thing
loss of something desirable
informal cost; expense (esp in the phrase what's the damage?)


(tr) to cause damage to
(intr) to suffer damage
Derived Formsdamageable, adjectivedamageability, noundamager, noundamaging, adjectivedamagingly, adverb

Word Origin for damage

C14: from Old French, from Latin damnum injury, loss, fine
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

Word Origin and History for damage

late 13c., from Old French damage (12c., Modern French dommage) "loss caused by injury," from dam "damage," from Latin damnum "loss, hurt, damage" (see damn).


early 14c., from Old French damagier, from damage (see damage (n.)). Related: Damaged; damaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with damage


In addition to the idioms beginning with damage

  • damage control
  • damaged goods

also see:

  • do one wrong (damage)
  • the damage
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.