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See more synonyms for deadening on Thesaurus.com
  1. a device or material employed to deaden or render dull.
  2. a device or material preventing the transmission of sound.
  3. a woodland in which the trees are killed by girdling prior to being cleared.
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Origin of deadening

First recorded in 1775–85; deaden + -ing1


verb (used with object)
  1. to make less sensitive, active, energetic, or forcible; weaken: to deaden sound; to deaden the senses; to deaden the force of a blow.
  2. to lessen the velocity of; retard: to deaden the headway of a ship.
  3. to make impervious to sound, as a floor.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become dead.
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Origin of deaden

First recorded in 1655–65; dead + -en1
Related formsdead·en·er, nounun·dead·ened, adjective

Synonyms for deaden

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

Related Words for deadening

impair, desensitize, abate, mute, reduce, smother, cushion, soften, hush, stupefy, check, weaken, paralyze, depress, deprive, slow, tire, injure, damp, repress

Examples from the Web for deadening

Contemporary Examples of deadening

Historical Examples of deadening

  • What was it about Martin, she wondered afresh, that had held her through all these deadening years?


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • One of its legs caught Garnache on the sword arm, deadening it for a second.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • His ambitions were already sullied by many unworthy and deadening ideas.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • I remember now how deadening their look was, in their very lustre and moveless calm.


    Elizabeth Wetherell

  • Deeper grew the deadening of his ears, and orientation was lost.


    George Oliver Smith

British Dictionary definitions for deadening


  1. to make or become less sensitive, intense, lively, etc; damp or be damped down; dull
  2. (tr) to make acoustically less resonanthe deadened the room with heavy curtains
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Derived Formsdeadener, noundeadening, 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

Word Origin and History for deadening



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper