see also: DAMP
Pronunciation Adjective

damp (comparative damper, superlative dampest)

  1. In a state between dry and wet; moderately wet; moist.
    • 25 January 2017, Leena Camadoo writing in the The Guardian, Dominican banana producers at sharp end of climate change ↗
      Once the farms have been drained and the dead plants have been cut down and cleared, farmers then have to be alert for signs of black sigatoka, a devastating fungus which flourishes in damp conditions and can destroy banana farms.
    • 1697, John Dryden translating Virgil, Aeneid Book VI
      She said no more. The trembling Trojans hear,
      O'erspread with a damp sweat and holy fear.
    The lawn was still damp so we decided not to sit down.
    The paint is still damp, so please don't touch it.
  2. (figuratively) Despondent; dispirited, downcast.
    • 27 July 2016, Jane O’Faherty in The Irish Independent, Monarchs and prison officers win big on second race day ↗''
      Though Travis's 'Why does it always Rain on Me' boomed around the stands, there were few damp spirits in Galway on day two of the races.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1, ll. 522-3:
      All these and more came flocking; but with looks / Down cast and damp.
  3. Permitting the possession of alcoholic beverages, but not their sale.
Synonyms Translations Noun


  1. Moisture; humidity; dampness.
    • circa 1602 William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act II, Scene 1,
      Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
      Moist Hesperus hath quench’d his sleepy lamp,
    • 1764, Elizabeth Griffith, Amana, London: W. Johnston, Act V, p. 49,
      What means this chilling damp that clings around me!
      Why do I tremble thus!
    • 1848, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton, Chapter 10,
      Unceasing, soaking rain was falling; the very lamps seemed obscured by the damp upon the glass, and their light reached but to a little distance from the posts.
    • 1928, Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, Penguin, 1942, Chapter 5, p. 160,
      But what was worse, damp now began to make its way into every house—damp, which is the most insidious of all enemies, for while the sun can be shut out by blinds, and the frost roasted by a hot fire, damp steals in while we sleep; damp is silent, imperceptible, ubiquitous.
    • 2005, Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (novel), London: Faber, 2010, Chapter 10, p. 115,
      We sometimes kept our Wellingtons on the whole day, leaving trails of mud and damp through the rooms.
  2. (archaic) Fog; fogginess; vapor.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Night […] with black air / Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom.
    • 1810, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Elizabeth Shelley, “Warrior” in Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire, London: John Lane, 1898, p. 57,
      Her chilling finger on my head,
      With coldest touch congealed my soul—
      Cold as the finger of the dead,
      Or damps which round a tombstone roll—
    • 1887, Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders, Chapter 40,
      Summer was ending: in the daytime singing insects hung in every sunbeam; vegetation was heavy nightly with globes of dew; and after showers creeping damps and twilight chills came up from the hollows.
  3. (archaic) Dejection or depression; something that spoils a positive emotion (such as enjoyment, satisfaction, expectation or courage) or a desired activity.
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy, London: Jacob Tonson, Act III, Scene 1, p. 35,
      Ev’n now, while thus I stand blest in thy Presence,
      A secret Damp of Grief comes o’er my Thoughts,
    • 1728, George Carleton (attributed to Daniel Defoe), The Memoirs of an English Officer, London: E. Symon, p. 72,
      But though the War was proclaim’d, and Preparations accordingly made for it, the Expectations from all receiv’d a sudden Damp, by the as sudden Death of King William.
    • 1769, Edmund Burke, Observations on a Late State of the Nation, London: J. Dodsley, p. 33,
      It is in this spirit that some have looked upon those accidents, that cast an occasional damp upon trade.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 50,
      No sentiment of shame gave a damp to her triumph.
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 10,
      […] Mrs. Gummidge […] , I am sorry to relate, cast a damp upon the festive character of our departure, by immediately bursting into tears […]
    • 1866, James David Forbes, letter to A. Wills dated 2 January, 1866, in Life and Letters of James David Forbes, London: Macmaillan, 1873, p. 429,
      […] I was concerned to hear from your brother that Mrs. Wills’ health had prevented her accompanying you to Sixt as usual. It must have thrown a damp over your autumn excursion […]
  4. (archaic or historical, mining) A gaseous product, formed in coal mines, old wells, pits, etc.
    • 1733, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies, London: Jacob Tonson, Chapter 1, p. 19,
      There are sulphurous Vapours which infect the Vegetables, and render the Grass unwholsom to the Cattle that feed upon it: Miners are often hurt by these Steams. Observations made in some of the Mines in Derbyshire, describe four sorts of those Damps.
Translations Translations Verb

damp (damps, present participle damping; past and past participle damped)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To dampen; to make moderately wet
    Synonyms: moisten
    to damp cloth
  2. (transitive, archaic) To put out, as fire; to weaken, restrain, or make dull.
    • 1887, Sir John Lubbock, The Pleasures of Life
      How many a day has been damped and darkened by an angry word!
    • 1857, Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit Book 1 Chapter 34
      My Lords, that I am yet to be told that it behoves a Minister of this free country to set bounds to the philanthropy, to cramp the charity, to fetter the public spirit, to contract the enterprise, to damp the independent self-reliance of its people.
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second
      The failure of his enterprise damped the spirit of the soldiers.
    • 1744, Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of the Imagination
      I do not mean to wake the gloomy form Of superstition dress'd in wisdom's garb, To damp your tender hopes
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Essays, civil and moral
      Usury dulls and damps all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein money would be stirring if it were not for this slug
  3. (transitive) To suppress vibrations (mechanical) or oscillations (electrical) by converting energy to heat (or some other form of energy).
    • Hollow rollers damp vibration.
Translations Translations Translations


  1. (immunology) Initialism of damage-associated molecular pattern
  2. Initialism of deficits in attention, motor coordination and perception

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