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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


See more synonyms for deaden on Thesaurus.com
1. blunt, diminish, lessen, numb, dull.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for deadening

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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