Definition of damn in English:



  • 1(in Christian belief) be condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

    ‘I treated her badly and I'll be damned to hell for it’
    • ‘Mephistophilis is one of the angels who conspired with Lucifer and was damned to hell.’
    • ‘Faustus is ultimately damned and falls to hell.’
    • ‘If God was so loving why were people who committed suicide immediately damned to hell.’
    • ‘Though I am not a Christian, because of my experience I can honestly say I know what it feels like to be eternally damned.’
    • ‘Those who receive the mark, according to Scripture, are damned to eternal punishment.’
    1. 1.1Be doomed to misfortune or failure.
      ‘the enterprise was damned’
      • ‘Where the substance is glorified in this disc, the style, unfortunately, is damned.’
      • ‘It was not the country that was damned but the settler who felt in his heart that he was damned.’
      • ‘This isn't to say the project was damned, but rather the fact that it's more difficult to create a compelling work when it's based on music with no clear emotional ambit.’
      ill-fated, doomed, blighted, ill-omened, foredoomed, infelicitous
      View synonyms
  • 2Criticize strongly.

    ‘the book damns her husband’
    • ‘It already has one of the worst congestion problems in the country - and now Southampton's crumbling roads have been damned too.’
    • ‘It concluded with 363 pages that damned every organisation and nearly every senior individual involved for their actions.’
    • ‘These, then, are the ‘teenage tearaways’ demonised in sections of the press, and frequently damned by politicians seeking a cheap populist soundbite.’
    • ‘Historically the worker's party, Labor is damned by the Liberals as being the party of the part, the section, the group, the collective, the union.’
    • ‘Though he damned the prime minister for the war he did not demand his resignation or rule out future cooperation with him or his successor.’
    • ‘Every time I see the papers commentating on an English sporting team they are either praised as the next World Champions or damned as sporting failures.’
    • ‘He also damned the Opposition, saying that after the Tampa affair its ineffectiveness had deprived the country of genuine democratic debate before the election.’
    • ‘I sought additional material from Galloway and other sources to bolster that defense and to my surprise, found more that damned him than supported him.’
    • ‘One of his friends has recently been publicly damned for his recreational drug habits.’
    • ‘Then, almost in the blink of an eye, it was being damned by environmentalists as a major polluter of our inland waters, a blight on the landscape, a hazard to health, and a threat to other wildlife.’
    • ‘He certainly feels like he is being unfairly damned.’
    • ‘Praised from the start for its technology and styling, commentators nevertheless unanimously damned the computer's price as just too high.’
    • ‘Bogdanor, an expert in constitutional affairs damned the Bill as ‘picking on a vulnerable minority.’’
    • ‘In a report that for audacity borders on the incredible, the Premiership damned the FA for the ills that are now besetting the game.’
    • ‘The country is either damned as a greedy imperialist on one hand or as a stonehearted isolationist on the other - it simply can't do anything right.’
    • ‘The show handles religion brilliantly and has been variously damned as anti-Christian and hailed as the most moral programme on the box - no mean feat.’
    • ‘Despite being damned as ‘failing’ as little as two years ago, the latest inspectors' report said conditions had been turned around by the prison's new governor.’
    • ‘Crawford damned the ‘naysayers and negativism that surrounds us’ and said he had no doubt that the course on which the agency had been set was the right one.’
    • ‘He is no supporter of the ACT party, but he damned this Budget because there is nothing in it for working people.’
    • ‘The incident has been damned by local councillor Cronin, who said that the boys and their families had been severely traumatised by the events.’
    condemn, censure, criticize, attack, denounce, deplore, decry, revile, inveigh against
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    1. 2.1Curse (someone or something)
      ‘she cleared her throat, damning it for its huskiness’
      ‘damn him for making this sound trivial’
      • ‘Weep, said the illustrious poet, for they are damned until mankind has lived for three several generations, perfectly in harmony, peace and love, without discord.’
      • ‘It was now or never… Just like the Elvis song.… silently, he damned his mother's Elvis collection.’
      • ‘As I sat there, damning and condemning myself, the same two words floated through my mind over and over again.’
      • ‘Then Rome damned Carthage and condemned it to death.’
      • ‘He felt the pain in the shoulder, where the arrow had hit him, and he damned his ship, his fate, the entire curse of his life.’
      • ‘I damned myself for become so wrapped up in the conversation.’
      • ‘For one short moment I damned them, damned their eyes, and wished their farm machine a rapid and terminally rusty death.’
      • ‘She damned herself, she had forgotten her father was going to be home all day today.’
      • ‘He damned himself for being in love with a woman who had no love for him in return, only ambition to rule a poverty-stricken country with a dictator as a husband.’
      • ‘Winded for a moment, he pulled himself up, damned himself for an old fool, and tried to get back to his feet.’
      • ‘And, as a parable, we should all be careful what we damn in public.’
      curse, put a curse on, put the evil eye on, execrate, imprecate, hoodoo
      View synonyms


  • Expressing anger or frustration.

    ‘Damn! I completely forgot!’
    • ‘Something sizzled, and the light scent of something burning reached her nose - damn, the bacon.’
    • ‘I have to go back to Queens today cos I forgot my gym clothes - damn, is that ever a drag.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, we were to later find out from Jim Newton that it was actually an easy climb, and that Skittle Alley was no more than fifty yards away - damn!’
    • ‘Well, there are some other things, but - damn! - am I long-winded, or what?’
    • ‘Meanwhile at the bottom of the cliff, Paul wakes up in pain - damn, he's still alive.’
    • ‘There are a couple of sentences I'd have phrased a little more sensitively than Bill, but, damn, his heart's in the right place.’
    • ‘I only live about a half-hour from the place, but, damn, I've already spent all of this money on these other tickets.’
    • ‘Thought it was fine and dandy till it just struck me… damn!’
    • ‘One of the women I work with buys it and uses it… damn!’
    • ‘Anthony had his head down, and I'm seeing Christensen turn toward him, and, damn, he lets it go.’
    • ‘Other cast-iron-contract-clad songbirds must be thinking: damn, I wish I had her lawyer.’
    • ‘What's Cyrus doing here. wait a minute, I'm the one who's not supposed to be here, oh damn!’
    • ‘Ethan said ‘Today I was talking to her in the kiosk and she was going to forgive me but, damn, Kelly interrupted us!’’
    • ‘I guess I'd know that answer if I'd actually paid much attention to Kyle over the duration of our trip to the zoo… damn!’
    • ‘I think I might just cook up a storm this morning for breakfast… then again I can't cook… damn!’
    • ‘I just lost today's post because of a Blogger problem - damn!’
    • ‘I feel slightly better but my nose is still dripping… damn!’
    • ‘I had to do this chapter again because when I was going online to do my thank you's to my reviewers, my computer crashed and I lost all my work, damn!’
    • ‘I couldv'e got better grades, got a proper job, found some nicer housemates… damn!’
    • ‘I look at the clock and realize it's already 6:20 - damn, how long have I been here?’


  • [attributive] Used for emphasis, especially to express anger or frustration.

    ‘turn that damn thing off!’
    [as submodifier] ‘don't be so damn silly!’
    • ‘I just wished that Damon would open the damn door and end her anger.’
    • ‘However, your second thought upon looking at the brochure was probably: ‘This looks like a damn good collection of productions!’’
    • ‘Sometimes letting the anger out, and not bottling it up inside feels damn good.’
    • ‘There's enough bad publicity about this damn silly event without you adding to it.’
    • ‘What the living hell am I doing in this damn silly job?’
    • ‘Even if it's thrown into the sea, the silly hare-brained hound brings the damn thing back.’
    • ‘‘I was so disgusted that I deleted the damn e-mail before I read it,’ the Republican said.’
    • ‘You better be damn careful about using that word.’
    • ‘Personally, I still think our best hope is that the producers can afford some computer effects and some damn good lighting.’
    • ‘The US has the best damn government money can buy.’
    • ‘This entire damn neighborhood is uphill, I thought.’
    • ‘No disrespect to anyone, but £210 a week for only working 17.5 hours is pretty damn good - it works out at about £12 an hour!’
    • ‘Why is it that every time the phone rings my dogs start making a damn racket so I can't hear what the heck is being said?’
    • ‘The whole damn school system is inappropriate!’
    • ‘It's silly, really, how attached I was to the damn thing, but most little kids do love animals to death, so I suppose it was only natural.’
    • ‘Trent looked at me curiously as I had to control my anger and keep myself from breaking the damn phone.’
    • ‘Then, what happened next shocked, angered, and confused him, which is a whole damn lot for a simple guy to be feeling all at once.’
    • ‘I spent another fifteen minutes looking for the damn socket slowly becoming more and more frustrated.’
    • ‘All but two of the candidates have reasons to be damn frustrated.’
    • ‘So whether another frustrated art lover finally snapped and tore down the damn cover themselves, I don't know.’


  • as near as damn it

    • see dammit
      • ‘Still at the top of the class, or as near as damn it, when it comes to hitting greens in regulation, Monty's number of putts per round deteriorated from 74th best on the European Tour in 1999 to 130th last year.’
      • ‘So much to do, so little time. I have, I confess, fallen behind on my unexpressed but firmly-made resolution to get something into this blog every day, or as near as damn it.’
      • ‘It amounted, as near as damn it, to the sort of income tax hike that the party had specifically ruled out both in 1997 and again in the run-up to the 2001 election.’
      • ‘The telecoms entrepreneur has as near as damn it admitted that mass satellite-based data networking isn't going to happen - at least in its current form.’
  • —— be damned

    • Used to express defiance or rejection of someone or something previously mentioned.

      ‘glory be damned!’
      • ‘Pop punk past be damned, there's now no questioning the authenticity of Neko's C&W efforts.’
      • ‘We all know, directly or otherwise, how possible is it to get a great nightlife in the city and restrictions be damned.’
      • ‘They then proceeded to rewrite the rules to suit their agenda, and the opposition be damned.’
      • ‘Strategy be damned because we do not have secret proceedings in this country.’
      • ‘Horizon-broadening be damned; for all its glaring faults and myriad irritations, I like it here.’
      • ‘The best we can do is estimate the perceived goal of the campaign, rhetoric from the opposition be damned.’
      • ‘However, there are times when I want to be able to enter a bar and have a highball and a ciggy, health concerns be damned.’
      • ‘Since we haven't, we go with what we've got and do the best we can as human beings, doctrine be damned.’
      • ‘They'll look for some way to use the power of the state to their advantage, the truth be damned.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter if they have to lie and distort to do it, the goal is power, and ethics be damned.’
  • damn all

    • informal Nothing at all.

      ‘there's damn all you can do about it’
      • ‘It would create a few jobs and relieve congestion and it would cost damn all.’
      • ‘I haven't commented largely because, as anyone who reads my site will know, I know damn all about economics.’
      • ‘UN approval has got damn all to do with the morality of the thing.’
      • ‘Anyway, that's got damn all to do with anything.’
      • ‘What starts so modestly as a meditation on the pleasures of doing damn all has in its last movement the nerve and velocity of the gangster film at its purest and most primal.’
      • ‘There's just damn all on worth listening to between 2 and 5.’
      • ‘I had thought that the second world war addiction was a peculiarly British phenomenon, a drug we reached for because we have achieved damn all as a nation ever since.’
      • ‘I've drifted about doing damn all this morning, gazing into space and half starting various things but finishing none.’
      • ‘If the phantom virus does come here, there's damn all they can do about it anyway.’
      • ‘They let me have the run of the library and there's damn all else to do here.’
  • damn someone/thing with faint praise

    • Praise someone or something so unenthusiastically as to imply condemnation.

      ‘it was a wretched review, damning poor Lisa with faint praise’
      • ‘Black thinks it's their best work to date, though he admits this is damning it with faint praise.’
      • ‘Not to damn him with faint praise, then, I'll also add that he is one of the more intelligent supporters of the war.’
      • ‘In 1953, he damns Jaques with faint praise by referring to her as the ‘most skilful practitioner’ of ‘the doggerel school’.’
      • ‘The student never quite got the point that the article damned Luther by faint praise.’
      • ‘This is an interesting evening and that is not damning it with faint praise.’
      • ‘In truth, she damns her idols with faint praise.’
      • ‘He opens by damning the piece with faint praise, calling it ‘well-intentioned,’ possessing ‘merits of its own.’’
      • ‘It was generally a good experience for him, but he damns his teachers with faint praise; they were adequate, but uninspiring.’
      • ‘So without wanting to damn Simon with faint praise by making that comparison, I don't believe that that's the issue.’
      • ‘I will admit the animation itself is nice, which is essentially my way of damning the film with faint praise.’
  • i'm (or i'll be) damned if

    • informal Used to express a strong negative.

      ‘I'm damned if I know’
      • ‘I already own more CDs than most other ‘regular’ people, and I'm damned if I'm gonna put up another shelf when the current one fills up.’
      • ‘I left an irate comment on the blog, but it's obvious the blog owner doesn't come around all that much - and I'm damned if I can find an email link for her on the page anywhere.’
      • ‘And I'm damned if I'm going to identify myself as a Scot - though some of my clan came from there and I do like that blue flag with the diagonal cross.’
      • ‘Well you never know she may not be the criminal I think she is but I'll be damned if that's so.’
      • ‘We just will not slow down, we know the problem, we know the solution, but I'm damned if we will do anything about it.’
      • ‘Having religiously turned out in all weathers, at every election in the last 44 years, I'm damned if I'm going to be subjected to a system that requires me to sign my ballot paper!’
      • ‘But I'll be damned if I'm going to start viewing my blog like an English 101 project where I have to go back and correct anything that may take my grade down a bit.’
      • ‘This certainly is a pretty space, but I'll be damned if I can figure out if this is a renovation of their existing store at 178 Orchard Street, or a new place altogether.’
      • ‘If anyone can suggest where I might have hidden them, do let me know, because I'm damned if I know.’
      • ‘I'm sure when I started writing this there was going to be a point to it but I'm damned if I can remember what it is.’
  • not be worth a damn

    • informal Have no value at all.

      ‘your evidence isn't worth a damn’
      • ‘There are tactics that work great when you're at the top of the hill that aren't worth a damn when you're at the bottom.’
      • ‘If we don't take care of our own we really aren't worth a damn.’
      • ‘He said there was an emerging consensus in the media that a press council with no statutory recognition ‘isn't worth a damn ‘, but that a press council imposed from government would be a bad thing.’’
      • ‘He was very good at some things, but he wasn't worth a damn at high tech and new ventures.’
      • ‘Plus the heaters in all the planes were not worth a damn and you were cold an awful lot of times.’
      • ‘As a neutral you'd have to feel sorry for Waterford but in real terms reaching another All-Ireland semi-final and losing it isn't worth a damn to them.’
      • ‘He said, ‘The best story in the world is not worth a damn unless you can get it out.’’
      • ‘Disconcertingly, he replied: ‘It wasn't worth a damn.’’
      • ‘On the riders who brought shame to his company, he added: ‘They are half-rotten mercenaries and their promises are not worth a damn.’’
      • ‘You can invest in all the latest gadgets, have a sophisticated alarm system, etc. but they are not worth a damn if a simple task like locking a front door is not adhered to.’
      jot, whit, iota, rap, scrap, bit
      one bit, even a little bit, the smallest amount, the tiniest bit
      hoot, two hoots, tinker's curse, tinker's cuss, brass farthing
      View synonyms
  • not give (or care) a damn

    • informal Not care at all.

      ‘people who don't give a damn about the environment’
  • well i'll be (or i'm) damned

    • informal Used to express surprise.

      ‘Well, I'll be damned! What brings you here?’
      • ‘Well, I'll be damned! What in tarnation are you doing in these parts?’
      • ‘Well I'm damned; you are quite right.’


Middle English: from Old French dam(p)ner, from Latin dam(p)nare inflict loss on, from damnum loss, damage.