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dented; denting; dents

transitive verb

: to make a dent in
dent a car
: to have a weakening effect on

intransitive verb

: to form a dent by sinking inward : become dented


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noun (1)

: a depression or hollow made by a blow or by pressure
: an appreciable impression or effect often made against resistance
hasn't made a dent in the problem
specifically : a weakening or lessening effect
costs that have made a dent in the budget


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noun (2)


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combining form

variants or denti- or dento-
: tooth : teeth

Examples of dent in a Sentence

Verb I'm afraid I dented the wall pretty badly when I was hammering in that nail. Many of the cans were badly dented. Some types of metal dent more easily than others. The team's confidence has been dented by a recent series of losses.
Recent Examples on the Web
At first, this threat did not seem to dent the resolve of the directors, who apparently felt like they were being asked to negotiate with terrorists. Steven Levy, WIRED, 22 Nov. 2023 Smaller companies tend to issue more floating-rate debt than their larger peers: Their loan payments fluctuate with benchmark interest rates, so higher interest expenses are denting their bottom line. Hardika Singh, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2023 Despite his own caution, Wilson acknowledged that many investors were still betting on stocks despite economic headwinds denting confidence—which could feed into a rally at some point in the fourth quarter. Bychloe Taylor, Fortune, 17 Oct. 2023 Gloomy consumer spending has hit retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom as high prices and borrowing rates squeeze budgets, denting demand for Levi’s denims bottoms, tops and cargo pants. Reuters, CNN, 5 Oct. 2023 Economists say the loan payments alone aren’t expected to dent the economy. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 11 Oct. 2023 What to Consider The wheels scuffed and dented with rough handling. Anna Popp, Travel + Leisure, 22 Sep. 2023 The mounting legal charges have also failed to dent Trump’s standing in the Republican presidential primary, with the former president now routinely beating his rivals by 30 to 50 points in polls. Jill Colvin, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Aug. 2023 Gutter guards can dent and lose some of their effectiveness, so the ladder should rest against the house instead. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 Aug. 2023
The agency hopes that doxy-PEP, which can lower infection risk by half or more, could put a significant dent in the rising STI levels in the U.S. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of syphilis cases rose by 32 percent, while chlamydia and gonorrhea each rose by around 4 percent. Sara Reardon, Scientific American, 6 Oct. 2023 The Lobos have been waiting for this game since Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer silenced a sellout crowd at the Pit last February and put a dent in their NCAA Tournament aspirations. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Nov. 2023 Interstate 75 to the west and 95 to the east were far from Santa Claus and put a dent in the town's plan to become an easy-access tourist attraction. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 30 Oct. 2023 With that reality in mind, Dove, the brand known for their Self-Esteem Project and efforts to uplift young girls, teamed up with Nike, the brand synonymous with athletes and sport, to help put a dent in these statistics. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 27 Oct. 2023 Put a Stop to Pimple Problems with These Stars Acne can certainly put a dent in confidence, but these little hydrocolloid stars will take down inflammation. Claire Rutter, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 The surge in premium costs comes as accelerating inflation is putting a dent in workers and employers' wallets and driving up medical device and drug costs, a report from the American Hospital Association shows. Elizabeth Napolitano, CBS News, 18 Oct. 2023 At one point or another, she’s made a dent in retail, gaming, books, television acting, makeup, and fragrance. Jane Thier, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2023 The point of a case is to protect your expensive, delicate device from scratches and dents. Joel Balsam, Travel + Leisure, 4 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, short for indenten to make dents in, indent

Noun (2)

French, literally, tooth, from Latin dent-, dens

Combining form

Middle English denti-, from Latin, from dent-, dens tooth — more at tooth

First Known Use


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

Noun (1)

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1703, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near dent

Cite this Entry

“Dent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to make a dent in or on
: to become marked by a dent


2 of 2 noun
: a notch or hollow made by a blow or by pressure
: an impression or effect made usually against resistance
that purchase made a big dent in our savings
: noticeable progress
made a dent in our pile of work

Medical Definition



Biographical Definition


biographical name

Joseph Mal*a*by ˈma-lə-bē How to pronounce Dent (audio) 1849–1926 English publisher

More from Merriam-Webster on dent

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