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dent

1
[ dent ]
/ dɛnt /
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noun

a hollow or depression in a surface, as from a blow.
a noticeable effect, especially of reduction: to leave a dent in one's savings; a dent in one's pride.

verb (used with object)

to make a dent in or on; indent: The impact dented the car's fender.
to have the effect of reducing or slightly injuring: The caustic remark dented his ego.

verb (used without object)

to show dents; become indented: Tin dents more easily than steel.
to sink in, making a dent: Nails dent into metal.

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Idioms for dent

    make a dent, Informal. to cause a person to take heed; make an impression: The doctor told him to stop smoking, but it didn't make a dent.
    make a dent in, to show initial progress; pass an initial stage of (work, thought, solving a problem, etc.): I haven't even made a dent in this pile of work.

Origin of dent

1
1250–1300; Middle English dente, variant of dint

OTHER WORDS FROM dent

un·dent·ed, adjective

Definition for dent (2 of 4)

dent2
[ dent ]
/ dɛnt /

noun

a toothlike projection, as a tooth of a gearwheel.
Textiles. the space between two wires through which the warp ends are drawn in the reed of a loom.

Origin of dent

2
1545–55; <Middle French <Latin dent- (stem of dēns) tooth

Definition for dent (3 of 4)

dent-

variant of denti- before a vowel: dentin.

Definition for dent (4 of 4)

dent.

abbreviation

dental.
dentist.
dentistry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

WORDS THAT USE DENT-

What does dent- mean?

Dent- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “tooth.” It is used in some medical and scientific terms, including in dentistry.

Dent- comes from the Latin dēns, meaning “tooth.” Greek words for “tooth” are odṓn, source of the combining forms odonto- and -odont, and odoús, source of the combining form odus.

The word dent, as in “a hollow or depression in a surface,” does not share a root with the combining form dent-. Learn where dent comes from at our entry for the word.

What are variants of dent-?

Dent- is a variant of dento-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use dento- article.

Another, more common, variant of dent-, especially before a form with a Latin root, is denti-, as in dentiform.

Examples of dent-

A word you may have come across related to dent- is dentist, from the French dentiste. A dentist is “a person whose profession is dentistry, the prevention and treatment of diseases and malformations of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity.”

We know dent- refers to “tooth,” so what does the -ist portion of the word mean? The suffix -ist denotes “a person who practices or is concerned with something.” A dentist is literally a “tooth-ist”!

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form dent-?

What are some other forms that dent- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -algia means “pain.” With this in mind, what is dentalgia?

Example sentences from the Web for dent

British Dictionary definitions for dent (1 of 3)

dent1
/ (dɛnt) /

noun

a hollow or dip in a surface, as one made by pressure or a blow
an appreciable effect, esp of lesseninga dent in our resources

verb

to impress or be impressed with a dent or dents

Word Origin for dent

C13 (in the sense: a stroke, blow): variant of dint

British Dictionary definitions for dent (2 of 3)

dent2
/ (dɛnt) /

noun

a toothlike protuberance, esp the tooth of a sprocket or gearwheel
textiles the space between two wires in a loom through which a warp thread is drawn

Word Origin for dent

C16: from French: tooth

British Dictionary definitions for dent (3 of 3)

dent.

abbreviation for

dental
dentistry
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

Medical definitions for dent

dent-

pref.

Variant ofdenti-
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with dent

dent

see make a dent in.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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