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
The National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of anti-junta groups formed to challenge military rule in the wake of a 2021 coup, announced coordinated drone attacks on two military installations, but provided no details on the drones or weapons used, or whether the targets sustained any damage. Reuters, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 Cameron Knight On Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati deployed 25 crews across the region to assess flooding damage after heavy rains swept through Tuesday. The Enquirer, 4 Apr. 2024 Limiting the scope of the early-warning alerts prevents people from overreacting in areas at lower risk of damage. Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 For now, the alliance is trying to limit the potential damage by convincing Trump and his supporters that NATO is worth preserving. John Hudson, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 Kentucky storm updates:Greenberg, Beshear to give damage updates, NWS conducting surveys Wednesday A post from user @KyKernel on X, formerly Twitter, shared a video of a student getting knocked over by extreme winds on campus. Marina Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 3 Apr. 2024 There are currently no reports of damage, but NWS is still searching, listening and looking for reports, NWS's Jason Puma said. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Apr. 2024 The formula also provides extra protection with the brand’s proprietary Cell-Ox Shield technology, which pairs UV filters with antioxidants that serve as a secondary line of defense against free radical damage. Deanna Pai, Vogue, 3 Apr. 2024 Households may also use the funding for other costs related to flood damage that aren’t covered by insurance, such as damage to personal property, transportation, funeral costs, medical care and child care. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2024
In the city of Hualien, near the epicenter on Taiwan's east coast, Mayor Hsu Chen-wei said 48 residential buildings were damaged by Wednesday's quake and subsequent aftershocks, according to the Associated Press. Chris Pandolfo, Fox News, 4 Apr. 2024 What upcoming celestial event can damage your eyes without proper protection? 6. CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 There’s a special solar safe filter included to capture stunning still photos and video of the eclipse with your smartphone, DSLR, or point-and-shoot camera without damaging its photo sensor. Sage Anderson, Rolling Stone, 3 Apr. 2024 His house was not damaged but the storm toppled five pine trees in his front yard and many others down the street. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2024 The earthquake, which damaged buildings and caused landslides, was the largest to hit Taiwan in 25 years and was also felt in parts of China. Lily kuo, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning Wednesday morning for Big Sur communities ahead of the anticipated showers and thunderstorms, which officials worry could further destabilize or damage the roadway — the only route in or out for almost 1,400 residents. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Many buildings and a major highway have been damaged, amid mounting reports of injury and death. Emma Specter, Vogue, 3 Apr. 2024 The central and southern Plains may also see wind gusts surpassing 50 mph that blow dust, reducing visibility, damaging property, and causing power outages. Eduardo Cuevas, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2024

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 14 Apr. 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!