verb (used with object)

to force in or down by repeated, rather light, strokes: He tamped the tobacco in his pipe.
(in blasting) to fill (a drilled hole) with earth or the like after the charge has been inserted.

Origin of tamp

First recorded in 1810–20; perhaps alteration of tampion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tamp

Contemporary Examples of tamp

Historical Examples of tamp

  • I could tamp a keg of powder so snugly into the hole of those skunks!

    The Face of the Fields

    Dallas Lore Sharp

  • Colonel Fraser paused to tamp down the tobacco in his pipe with a fingertip.

  • It is always a profitable labor to tamp the ground firmly about all the posts every spring.

    American Grape Training

    Liberty Hyde (L.H.) Bailey

  • The amount of tamping is indicated by the fact that about 16 men out of 72 on each shift did nothing but tamp.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

  • Care was taken to tamp the concrete so as to force the concrete stone into but not through the facing.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

British Dictionary definitions for tamp



verb (tr)

to force or pack down firmly by repeated blows
to pack sand, earth, etc into (a drill hole) over an explosive

Word Origin for tamp

C17: probably a back formation from tampin (obsolete variant of tampion), which was taken as being a present participle tamping



verb South Wales dialect

(tr) to bounce (a ball)
(intr usually foll by down) to pour with rain

Word Origin for tamp

probably special use of tamp 1
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 tamp

1819, "to fill (a hole containing an explosive) with dirt or clay before blasting," a workmen's word, perhaps a back-formation from tampion, that word being mistaken as a present participle (*tamping).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper