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damp

[damp]
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adjective, damp·er, damp·est.
  1. slightly wet; moist: damp weather; a damp towel.
  2. unenthusiastic; dejected; depressed: The welcoming committee gave them a rather damp reception.
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noun
  1. moisture; humidity; moist air: damp that goes through your warmest clothes.
  2. a noxious or stifling vapor or gas, especially in a mine.
  3. depression of spirits; dejection.
  4. a restraining or discouraging force or factor.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make damp; moisten.
  2. to check or retard the energy, action, etc., of; deaden; dampen: A series of failures damped her enthusiasm.
  3. to stifle or suffocate; extinguish: to damp a furnace.
  4. Acoustics, Music. to check or retard the action of (a vibrating string); dull; deaden.
  5. Physics. to cause a decrease in amplitude of (successive oscillations or waves).
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Verb Phrases
  1. damp off, to undergo damping-off.
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Origin of damp

1300–50; Middle English (in sense of def. 4); compare Middle Dutch damp, Middle High German dampf vapor, smoke
Related formsdamp·ish, adjectivedamp·ish·ly, adverbdamp·ish·ness, noundamp·ly, adverbdamp·ness, noun
Can be confuseddamp moist (see synonym study at the current entry)damp dampen

Synonyms

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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.

Antonyms

1. dry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

condensation, smoke, gas, fog, moisture, smog, steam, evaporation, effluvium, dew, breath, haze, exhalation, miasma, reek, dampness, wetness, humidity, oppressiveness, heaviness

Examples from the Web for dampness

Historical Examples

  • The dripping of water reached the ear; the smell of dampness the nostrils.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Round these there were circles of dampness, showing that evaporation was taking place.

    The Slave Of The Lamp

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • A faint, searching woods perfume of dampness greets your nostrils.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • The only thing she did not like was the courtyard's dampness.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • The dampness was affecting him, and he wrapped his muffler more closely about his neck.


British Dictionary definitions for dampness

damp

adjective
  1. slightly wet, as from dew, steam, etc
  2. archaic dejected
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noun
  1. slight wetness; moisture; humidity
  2. rank air or poisonous gas, esp in a mineSee also firedamp
  3. a discouragement; damper
  4. archaic dejection
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verb (tr)
  1. to make slightly wet
  2. (often foll by down) to stifle or deadento damp one's ardour
  3. (often foll by down) to reduce the flow of air to (a fire) to make it burn more slowly or to extinguish it
  4. physics to reduce the amplitude of (an oscillation or wave)
  5. music to muffle (the sound of an instrument)
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See also damp off
Derived Formsdampish, adjectivedamply, adverbdampness, 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

Word Origin and History for dampness

damp

v.

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.

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damp

adj.

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

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damp

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper