causing or capable of causing damages; harmful; injurious.

Origin of damaging

First recorded in 1850–55; damage + -ing2
Related formsdam·ag·ing·ly, adverbnon·dam·ag·ing, adjectivenon·dam·ag·ing·ly, adverbun·dam·ag·ing, adjective




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 damaging

Contemporary Examples of damaging

Historical Examples of damaging

  • I would be a fool to go among them and receive some damaging blow.

  • That's abominable of you, Socrates; you take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument.

  • So his setting was not merely inharmonious; it was damaging.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • Oh, Annesley Beecher, can you not see how you are damaging your own cause?

  • He felt as though he had been entrapped into a damaging exposure.

    The Point Of Honor

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for damaging



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 damaging



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



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with damaging


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.