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 damageability (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 Police responded to an accident nearby at the 8400 block of Craig Street, where a white Honda Civic had drove into the side of an assisted living facility, hitting a window but causing no other immediately noticeable damage. Jordan Erb, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis sets new record for most homicides over the course of a year," 11 Oct. 2020 There are concerns about pollution from the smoke and fears that flames will get out of control, damage property and provoke lawsuits. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "California tribe offered solution to wildfire management. Was U.S. Forest Service listening?," 11 Oct. 2020 The Impala had front end damage and was seized as evidence. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Two in golf cart injured in hit-and-run," 8 Oct. 2020 Your sprinkler system needs to be winterized in the fall before freezing weather settles in to prevent water freezing in the system and causing damage. Jim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "9 timely gardening and lawn tips for fall, whether you’re a pandemic gardening newbie or a seasoned pro," 3 Oct. 2020 Trump has repeatedly discussed Portland on the campaign trail, criticizing city leaders for failing to quell property damage that often occurs at nightly protests against police violence. oregonlive, "‘Portland sheriff' who backs Trump hasn’t stepped forward, several officials say it’s not them," 2 Oct. 2020 Numerous cities and farming provinces also suffered massive damage because of historic flooding over the summer. Author: Joby Warrick, Simon Denyer, Anchorage Daily News, "As North Korea’s Kim wooed Trump with ‘love letters,’ he kept building his nuclear capability, intelligence shows," 1 Oct. 2020 The immune system attacks the joints, eventually causing permanent damage. Jennifer King Lindley, Good Housekeeping, "The Science of Joint Health," 1 Oct. 2020 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia had also suffered moisture damage to its leather bindings. Washington Post, "When book storage is limited, people get desperate. Don’t make the mistakes I did.," 30 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The blustery weather is a major concern for fire safety, since strong winds can spread embers and fan flames from existing fires and potentially damage electrical equipment. Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E reduces scope of planned outages, but fire threat persists," 22 Oct. 2020 He was charged with rioting in relation to that incident, and of conspiring with others to damage property and obstruct the course of justice in Tuen Mun that July 6, according to a tweet posted to his account by an administrator Wednesday morning. Iain Marlow, Bloomberg.com, "Hong Kong Arrests Two Lawmakers in Further Blow to Opposition," 26 Aug. 2020 Home improvement fraud: The Better Business Bureau's second riskiest scam for people 65 and older is common in North Texas because of the many storms and tornadoes that damage property. Sheryl Jean, Dallas News, "How to spot a scam aimed at older adults," 25 Aug. 2020 That exposes them to flooding and storm surges, which can damage critical equipment. Avery Ellfeldt, Scientific American, "Mounting Climate Impacts Threaten U.S. Nuclear Reactors," 20 Aug. 2020 The Tucsonpolice chief used Twitter to announce four arrests at a Saturday protest and question the motives of protesters who damage property or retaliate against police. Helen Wieffering, The Arizona Republic, "After 4 arrests at Tucson protest, police chief asks: 'Is this supposed to help the cause?'," 2 Aug. 2020 While no outages have so far been attributed to hackers, grid companies are beefing up security amid an unprecedented onslaught that, in a worst-case scenario, could trigger blackouts or damage vital equipment. Christopher Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Hackers are targeting the remote workers who keep your lights on," 30 July 2020 McCloskey told local media that the protesters threatened to kill him and damage his property. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "'Abuse of power': Josh Hawley rips Missouri prosecutor for considering charges against couple who brandished guns at protesters," 2 July 2020 Cooper said how much the revelations will damage Cunningham's campaign depends on whether additional details surfaced beyond the texts. Brian Slodysko And Gary D. Robertson, Star Tribune, "Democrat's personal scandal roils N. Carolina Senate race," 6 Oct. 2020

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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Learn More about damage

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

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Damage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damage. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for damage


How to pronounce damage (audio)

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 entrygeneral 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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