dam·​age | \ ˈda-mij How to pronounce damage (audio) \

Definition of damage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : loss or harm resulting from injury to person, property, or reputation flood damage sustained severe damage to her knee
2 damages plural : compensation in money imposed by law for loss or injury The judge awarded them $5,000 in damages.
3 : expense, cost "What's the damage?" he asked the waiter


damaged; damaging

Definition of damage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause damage (see damage entry 1 sense 1) to don't damage the furniture returning soldiers damaged by war

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Other Words from damage


damageability \ ˌda-​mi-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce damage (audio) \ noun
damager noun

Choose the Right Synonym for damage


injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Examples of damage in a Sentence

Noun The items were carefully wrapped to protect them from damage during shipping. The city sustained heavy damage during the war. Fortunately the boat suffered no serious damage in the storm. The fall caused considerable damage to her knee. The disease is known to cause permanent brain damage. The scandal caused significant damage to her career. You've said enough. Please leave before you do any more damage. He tried to repair the damage by apologizing, but it was too late. He apologized, but the damage was already done. Verb Please return any items that are damaged during shipping. Many homes were damaged or completely destroyed in the fire. The fall severely damaged her knee. Smoking can seriously damage your lungs. The scandal significantly damaged her career. This news will undoubtedly damage the governor's reputation. He was worried that his comments had seriously damaged their relationship. He's trying to repair his damaged reputation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But by then, the damage caused by the Dodgers’ reluctance to unsettle him had been done. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers get cheated again, this time by sign-stealing Fernando Tatis Jr. of Padres," 26 Apr. 2021 The group, which was formed by dissident officers in 2016 and is not linked to Islamists, did not specify where the command post was located or give details of any casualties or damage. Reuters, CNN, "Thousands mourn Chad's president, rebels say their command hit by airstrike," 23 Apr. 2021 But the damage was done, the American Academy of Pediatrics, parenting magazines and parents themselves advocated for the postponement of introducing these potentially dangerous foods. Washington Post, "Biden signs new law that makes sesame the ninth major food allergen," 23 Apr. 2021 But the damage is done, and failing to approve a similar combination of Aerojet and Lockheed would simply compound the competition-deadening effect of the FTC’s previous decision. Loren Thompson, Forbes, "Why A Lockheed-Aerojet Merger Is Good For Defense," 21 Apr. 2021 Even though the authorities eventually declared that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed risks, and advised E.U. members to use it, the damage had been done. New York Times, "J. & J. to Resume E.U. Vaccine Rollout, With Warning of Rare Side Effect," 20 Apr. 2021 Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas. Agus Basuki, USA TODAY, "Strong earthquake kills at least 7, damages more than 300 buildings in Indonesia," 10 Apr. 2021 Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas. Agus Basuki, chicagotribune.com, "Indonesia earthquake kills 8, injures 23 other in Java; no tsunami risk," 10 Apr. 2021 Thomas says that even though the charges were dropped, the damage was done. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah man says undercover officer framed him for ‘vilest’ sex crimes," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even tiny concentrations can permanently damage the developing brains of children and contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure and other health problems later in life. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois House backs replacement of brain-damaging lead service lines, but wants Biden and Congress to pay for the work," 23 Apr. 2021 According to protest organizers, which include City College student government and the college’s faculty union, cuts of this magnitude would irreparably damage a range of programs, including nursing, English and music. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. City College students, faculty protest impending massive cuts to classes and teachers," 22 Apr. 2021 Livestream selling could potentially damage a high-end brand, so decisions on whether to use it must be made on a case-by-case basis. Nicole Zhao, Forbes, "Tapping Into China's Growth: Three Factors Every Brand Should Consider," 19 Apr. 2021 But if Afghan security and intelligence forces falter drastically, that could significantly damage one of the United States’ best sources of intelligence on Al Qaeda and other insurgents. New York Times, "How the U.S. Plans to Fight From Afar After Troops Exit Afghanistan," 15 Apr. 2021 Refrigerator temperatures — generally around the mid-30s — damage the flavor and texture of many types of produce. Anne-marie Bonneau, Los Angeles Times, "Most food waste in the U.S. occurs at the consumer level. You can do something about it," 15 Apr. 2021 If your kitchen plumbing is made of PVC piping (PVC is plastic), the hot water can potentially damage the pipes. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: DNA kits ... for your dog," 10 Apr. 2021 Chlamydia can damage the male and female reproductive system and lead to pregnancy complications. Matthew Perrone, Star Tribune, "COVID testing blitz undermined screening, fight against STDs," 7 Apr. 2021 Exposing the skin, mouth or nose to the super attraction of the powerful magnets over time can damage tissue. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Home hazards: More kids swallowed batteries in 2020; desk-toy magnets a rising problem again," 5 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'damage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of damage


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for damage

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from dan damage, from Latin damnum — see damn entry 1

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Time Traveler for damage

Time Traveler

The first known use of damage was in the 14th century

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Statistics for damage

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Damage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damage. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for damage



English Language Learners Definition of damage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical harm that is done to something or to someone's body
: emotional harm that is done to someone
: problems that are caused by a mistake, wrong action, etc. : bad or harmful effects on a situation, a person's reputation, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of damage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to physically harm (something)
: to cause problems in or for (something) : to have a bad effect on (a situation, a person's reputation, etc.)


dam·​age | \ ˈda-mij How to pronounce damage (audio) \

Kids Definition of damage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : loss or harm caused by injury to a person's body or property How much damage was done to the car?
2 damages plural : money demanded or paid according to law for injury or damage The jury awarded $50,000 in damages.


damaged; damaging

Kids Definition of damage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause harm or loss to



Legal Definition of damage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : loss or harm resulting from injury to person, property, or reputation
2 plural : the money awarded to a party in a civil suit as reparation for the loss or injury for which another is liable — see also additur, cover, mitigate, remittitur — compare declaratory judgment at judgment sense 1a, injunction, specific performance at performance

Note: The trier of fact determines the amount of damages to be awarded to the prevailing party. More than one type of damages may be awarded for a single injury.

actual damages
: damages deemed to compensate the injured party for losses sustained as a direct result of the injury suffered

called also compensatory damages

consequential damages
: special damages in this entry
direct damages
: damages for a loss that is an immediate, natural, and foreseeable result of the wrongful act — compare special damages in this entry
exemplary damages \ ig-​ˈzem-​plə-​rē-​ \
: punitive damages in this entry
expectation damages
: damages recoverable for breach of contract and designed to put the injured party in the position he or she would have been in had the contract been completed

called also expectancy damages

general damages
1 : damages for a loss that is the natural, foreseeable, and logical result of a wrongful act — compare special damages in this entry
2 : damages for losses (as pain and suffering, inconvenience, or loss of lifestyle) whose monetary values are difficult to assign
hedonic damages \ hi-​ˈdä-​nik-​ \
: damages deemed to compensate for the loss of enjoyment of life resulting from a wrongful act

Note: Hedonic damages are not recognized in all jurisdictions.

incidental damages
: damages recoverable under section 2-715 of the Uniform Commercial Code in breach of contract cases for losses that include expenses incurred in handling and caring for goods which were the subject of the contract, reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining cover, and any other reasonable expenses resulting from the breach that do not fall into any other category
liquidated damages
: damages whose amount is agreed upon by the parties to a contract as adequately compensating for loss in the event of a breach

called also stipulated damages

Note: Liquidated damages in an amount exceeding that needed to reasonably compensate the injured party constitute a penalty and are therefore void.

moratory damages
in the civil law of Louisiana : damages recoverable for loss resulting from an obligor's delay in performing

Note: Compensatory damages are recoverable in a case of failure to perform.

nominal damages
: damages awarded in a small amount (as one dollar) in cases in which a party has been injured but no loss resulted from the injury or in which the injured party failed to prove that loss resulted from the injury
presumed damages
: damages that are presumed under the law to result naturally and necessarily from a tortious act and that therefore do not require proof
punitive damages
: damages awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing to punish or deter the wrongdoer or deter others from behaving similarly

called also exemplary damages, smart money

special damages
: damages awarded in an amount deemed to compensate for losses that arise not as a natural result of the injury but because of some particular circumstance of the injured party specifically : damages relating to a business, profession, or property that are easily calculable in monetary terms

called also consequential damages

— compare direct damages in this entry general damages in this entry

Note: Because special damages do not arise in every case, they must be specifically requested in the pleadings. This is an issue of particular importance in cases of harm to reputation, such as slander, libel, and malicious prosecution.

stipulated damages
in the civil law of Louisiana : liquidated damages in this entry
treble damages \ ˈtre-​bəl-​ \
: damages awarded in an amount that is three times the amount for which the trier of fact finds the wrongdoer liable

Note: Treble damages are recoverable where authorized by statute and are usually imposed as a punishment.

3 plural : losses for which damages are recoverable did not incur damages, because he was unlikely to win the foreclosure case— Rosalind Resnick



Legal Definition of damage (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to damages a damage action a damage remedy

History and Etymology for damage


Old French, from dam injury, harm, from Latin damnum financial loss, fine

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