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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
But his admissions of guilt have done relatively little to dent his profile on YouTube, Facebook or any of the other internet platforms that helped make Vickers famous within the online gun community. David Ingram, NBC News, 18 Feb. 2024 Prabowo is the former son-in-law of the late dictator Suharto and his controversial background hasn’t dented his popularity, as experts warn dynastic politics is making a comeback. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 Prolonged weakness in the property market and share prices has dented consumer confidence, hindering that transition. Elaine Kurtenbach, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 Zelenskyy's plans for a shake-up come after months of bloody, inconclusive fighting that have taken a toll on the nation's mood, and dented his popularity ratings. Compiled Bydemocrat-Gazette Stafffrom Wire Reports,, 6 Feb. 2024 This period has also seen the meteoric rise of its biggest rivals Manchester City and Liverpool F.C. But that hasn’t dented the financial fortunes of the club, who are majority owned by the U.S. billionaire Glazer family, who also control the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL franchise. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 3 Feb. 2024 Gold chip stocks like MCU and Disney — come to think of it, that’s actually the same stock — were left tarnished and dented after a string of would-be blockbusters went bust. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Dec. 2023 What to Consider The exterior of the bottle might dent over time. Kaitlyn McInnis, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2023 To be sure, 2023 had plenty of unusual headwinds that also dented sales, like the Hollywood labor strikes that crimped production of movies and TV shows, which prompted entertainment giants to cut their own marketing expenditures. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 18 Jan. 2024
Many were hopeful that would make a dent in the plastic pollution crisis, one canvas tote bag at a time. Gerald Markowitz, The Mercury News, 27 Feb. 2024 Swing too far in one direction and dent whatever made the team a competitive success in 2022? Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2024 To put a dent in the crisis, Hoyle said policymakers must start creating more affordable housing units in rural areas, and quickly. Claire Thornton, USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2024 Caveats Lowered inflation rates don’t make a dent in what consumers pay now. Jonathan Lansner, Orange County Register, 13 Feb. 2024 City efforts have barely made a dent in the numbers. Scott McLean, CNN, 6 Feb. 2024 The pastor doubted that approach on its own would make a dent in the country’s daily death toll. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 After shaking up the music world, Snoop and Dre are looking to make a dent in the spirits industry with help from record executive powerhouse Jimmy Iovine, who is an investor in the endeavor. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 13 Feb. 2024 One way of making a dent in the demand for new plastic beads is to reuse old ones. Kevin McGill, Quartz, 11 Feb. 2024 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 4 Mar. 2024.

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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