damp

1 of 3

noun

1
: a noxious gas compare black damp, firedamp
2
b
archaic : fog, mist
3

damp

2 of 3

verb

damped; damping; damps

transitive verb

1
a
: to affect with or as if with a noxious gas : choke
b
: to diminish the activity or intensity of
damping down the causes of inflation
liquid damps out compass oscillations
c
: to check the vibration or oscillation of (something, such as a string or a voltage)
2
: dampen

intransitive verb

: to diminish progressively in vibration or oscillation

damp

3 of 3

adjective

1
a
archaic : being confused, bewildered, or shocked : stupefied
2
: slightly or moderately wet : moist
a damp towel
also : humid
damp weather
dampish adjective
damply adverb
dampness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for damp

wet, damp, dank, moist, humid mean covered or more or less soaked with liquid.

wet usually implies saturation but may suggest a covering of a surface with water or something (such as paint) not yet dry.

slipped on the wet pavement

damp implies a slight or moderate absorption and often connotes an unpleasant degree of moisture.

clothes will mildew if stored in a damp place

dank implies a more distinctly disagreeable or unwholesome dampness.

a prisoner in a cold, dank cell

moist applies to what is slightly damp or not felt as dry.

treat the injury with moist heat

humid applies to the presence of much water vapor in the air.

a hot, humid climate

Examples of damp in a Sentence

Noun The boxes were left outside in the damp. the damp of the night Verb His hands were damped with sweat. refused to let the setbacks damp his drive for success Adjective Wipe up the mess with a damp cloth. Her forehead was damp with perspiration. My hair's still damp from the rain. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The melodramatic piano music has put you on edge, as have the visible damp of the Savannah air and the oak trees dripping with moss. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 8 Dec. 2023 Sitting at a café in New Haven, he is layered in chamois cloth shirts for the cold and wearing a knitted wool hat for the damp. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023 Keep It Cozy Basements often have practical finishes like cement and tile to help ward off the damp, but that doesn't mean your lower level needs to feel like a utility room. Kelsey Mulvey, Southern Living, 15 Sep. 2023 Issues such as mold and damp can lead to respiratory problems and headaches. WIRED, 27 June 2023 The upper-level area of low pressure responsible for the recent damp and dreariness starts to drift away tomorrow, making for a somewhat brighter and warmer Thursday, before a sunnier and more springlike Friday through Sunday. Dan Stillman, Washington Post, 3 May 2023 This pet cot is an elevated platform designed to keep your furry friend off the ground, giving them a comfortable and secure spot to relax and sleep, while also protecting them from the damp and insects. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 24 May 2023 The damp is just on her side. Keith Ridgway, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021 The damp pierced me through and through…. Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, 3 Nov. 2020
Verb
The white world around us was beautiful in the failing light but barren and damp and growing steadily colder. Nick Fasciano, Outdoor Life, 8 Feb. 2024 Carmakers are facing a slowdown in enthusiasm for EVs in South Korea as higher interest rates and inflation prompt consumers to rein in spending, while concerns about battery fires and a dearth of fast chargers are also damping demand. Heejin Kim, Fortune Asia, 7 Feb. 2024 Neighborhood speed bumps are both harsh on impact and then poorly damped on rebound, when the compressed rear suspension springs back like a pogo stick after landing on the other side of the bump. Dan Carney, Popular Science, 1 Feb. 2024 One very cool feature is automatic volume damping during loud commercial breaks. K. Thor Jensen, PCMAG, 31 Jan. 2024 As a springboard diver at the University of Miami, Doris Glenn Richards trained twice a day, won three national championships — and developed a serious aversion to damp workout clothes. Evan Benn, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Baseboards separating from the walls and damp drywall accumulating mold. Amanda Rabines, Orlando Sentinel, 2 Jan. 2024 The increase damped some investors’ hopes for an imminent interest rate cut, which would ease borrowing costs for businesses and households, potentially strengthening the overall economic outlook. Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2024 Although the steering is carryover, the calibration was modified for a more progressive action, improved damping, and a less agitated on-center feel. Georg Kacher, Car and Driver, 22 Aug. 2023
Adjective
The winter months have been particularly horrific for children, with thousands sheltering in cold, damp basements as an escalation of attacks left many families without heating, access to water or electricity. Maryanne Murray Buechner, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 The bag passed our durability tests with flying colors: the substantial nylon material never scuffed or tore, and was easy to wipe clean with a damp towel. Sophie Dodd, Travel + Leisure, 23 Feb. 2024 But if the padding is damp, moisture laden with remnants of that deep stain will wick to the surface as the carpet fibers dry. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 However, things got off to a damp start after the stadium floor had to be evacuated due to a nearby lightning strike, as seen in a video posted on X (formerly known as Twitter). Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 23 Feb. 2024 Some people have good luck replacing the clear plastic dome with a damp paper towel placed over the seed tray. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 16 Feb. 2024 Best used on damp hair, the curler provides big, bouncy curls in four to eight hours—and its silky material keeps hair hydrated all the while. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2024 However, the bed found at this site, preserved by the damp mud of the underground River Fleet, is the first complete example ever discovered in Britain. Zara Khan, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 The last weekend of January is upon us and the rain has come and gone, leaving the air clean and the earth damp. Kamren Curiel, Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, black damp, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, vapor; akin to Old High German damph vapor

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near damp

Cite this Entry

“Damp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damp. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

damp

1 of 3 noun
1
: a harmful gas especially in a coal mine
2
3

damp

2 of 3 verb
: dampen

damp

3 of 3 adjective
: slightly wet
dampness noun

Medical Definition

damp

noun
: a noxious or stifling gas or vapor
especially : one occurring in coal mines
usually used in plural
see black damp, firedamp

More from Merriam-Webster on damp

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