1 of 2


dam·​age ˈda-mij How to pronounce damage (audio)
: loss or harm resulting from injury to person, property, or reputation
flood damage
sustained severe damage to her knee
damages plural : compensation in money imposed by law for loss or injury
The judge awarded them $5,000 in damages.
: expense, cost
"What's the damage?" he asked the waiter


2 of 2


damaged; damaging

transitive verb

: to cause damage (see damage entry 1 sense 1) to
don't damage the furniture
returning soldiers damaged by war
damageability 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. 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 damage his reputation. He was worried that his comments had damaged their relationship. He's trying to repair his damaged reputation.
Recent Examples on the Web
In 2023, enforcement actions yielded over $6 million, while so far this year the legal department has collection over $14 million in initial payments, residual compensation, writer and guild damages, benefits contributions and interest. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 July 2024 These compounds damage cells and promote inflammation in the body, which can harm overall health. Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio Another concern linked to canola oil is that eating a canola oil-rich diet can disrupt your body's omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Jillian Kubala, Rd, Health, 10 July 2024
This approach places resistance training well within the reach of almost anyone who has avoided it for fear of damaging fragile joint tissue. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 11 July 2024 In March, eastbound Interstate 94 between Michigan 14 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road and Liberty Road over I-94 also closed for repairs after another vehicle damaged the Liberty Road bridge, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for damage 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'damage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near damage

Cite this Entry

“Damage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damage. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
dam·​age ˈdam-ij How to pronounce damage (audio)
: a loss or harm caused by injury to one's person or property
plural : payment in money ordered by a court for loss or injury
collected damages for his broken arm in the accident claim


2 of 2 verb
damaged; damaging
: to cause damage to

Legal Definition


1 of 2 noun
: loss or harm resulting from injury to person, property, or reputation
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
: damages for a loss that is the natural, foreseeable, and logical result of a wrongful act compare special damages in this entry
: 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.

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


2 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to damages
a damage action
a damage remedy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on damage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!