a device or material employed to deaden or render dull.
a device or material preventing the transmission of sound.
a woodland in which the trees are killed by girdling prior to being cleared.

Origin of deadening

First recorded in 1775–85; deaden + -ing1



verb (used with object)

to make less sensitive, active, energetic, or forcible; weaken: to deaden sound; to deaden the senses; to deaden the force of a blow.
to lessen the velocity of; retard: to deaden the headway of a ship.
to make impervious to sound, as a floor.

verb (used without object)

to become dead.

Origin of deaden

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

Synonyms for deaden Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper