Definition of damp in English:



  • Slightly wet.

    ‘her hair was still damp from the shower’
    ‘damp November evenings’
    • ‘An hour later, the slightly damp crew boarded the buses for the final leg home.’
    • ‘Silently and with some relief, we exited and sat down on the slightly damp curb.’
    • ‘The man in the mirror's blue-grey and slightly damp hair hung straight behind him, disappearing behind his bare shoulders.’
    • ‘They were followed by four very well dressed, slightly damp individuals, one of whom stepped wide around Jim as he passed.’
    • ‘She pulled Millie over to the washbasin on the table and began to wrap her finger with a thin, slightly damp wash rag.’
    • ‘Sweat drenched his body and there was a slightly damp patch on the sheet under him.’
    • ‘The tubers can then be stored in boxes - though not the crowns - and covered with slightly damp peat ready for planting next year.’
    • ‘Her hair was slightly damp from the long hours of tears and her tired, blue eyes were puffy.’
    • ‘Shaking her head, she sat herself down on a cold and slightly damp bench.’
    • ‘Sarah grabbed his wet hand when they entered the forest, he shivered slightly in the damp atmosphere.’
    • ‘Preferring light shade and slightly damp soil, this evergreen form sends out new growth annually from the base of the plant.’
    • ‘This morning I was wiping the table with a very slightly damp rag and noticed that the wax build-up was coming off.’
    • ‘With her back on the slightly damp grass, Selina watched the scattered clouds float by.’
    • ‘She sat on the cold, slightly damp stone and let her cloak drop, watching as it billowed around her ankles like a cloud of thick black smoke.’
    • ‘She tossed the bundle of slightly damp clothing into the general vicinity of the tent and sat down on the grass beside him.’
    • ‘Knead well; let rise to double its size under a slightly damp towel in a warm place.’
    • ‘With another sigh, she huddled closer to the trunk of the tree behind her, shivering slightly in the damp mist.’
    • ‘I padded quietly over to the door and opened it, looking up at Donovan's slightly damp face and hair.’
    • ‘I headed towards my favorite spot below the old weeping willow and sat on the slightly damp ground.’
    • ‘When working with the phyllo leaves, keep a slightly damp towel over the leaves you are not currently using - and work quickly.’
    moist, moistened, wettish, dampened, dampish
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  • 1mass noun Moisture diffused through the air or a solid substance or condensed on a surface, typically with detrimental or unpleasant effects.

    ‘the house reeked of mould and damp’
    • ‘The heat involved in cooking causes water to form on walls and ceilings and can, at worst, lead to patches of damp and mould.’
    • ‘He slips it into his pocket, almost imagining that he can smell lavender and cigarette smoke even in the damp of the city.’
    • ‘Mihradi bit her lip, finding that she was shaking… the damp must be getting to her.’
    • ‘Five minutes later, once the smoke and clouds of damp had cleared, she turned to me: ‘Why did you buy this?’’
    • ‘But in the winter, the damp still creeps through the building and leaves the children shivering with cold.’
    • ‘Hotter, drier summers will bring an increased risk of property subsidence, while wetter winters may cause damp, condensation and mould problems.’
    • ‘If the walls were rendered with hard sand and cement, this would trap moisture, resulting in condensation or damp.’
    • ‘Thunder was a thunderstorm, normal was just rain, sprinkle was a light shower, and mist was just damp.’
    • ‘There was a problem with damp and mould at her home and a lack of security left Lilian feeling quite vulnerable at times.’
    • ‘He carefully draped it over Ramirez, and soon the warmth from the luxuriant fur stilled his chattering teeth and banished the damp.’
    • ‘Now every one of the hundreds of things she has in stock has to be examined for water damage and damp.’
    • ‘Centurion, even in the damp, retains an open and friendly atmosphere that is undoubtedly linked to its lack of formal structure.’
    • ‘It was not until the building began to suffer the effects of damp that the council acted.’
    • ‘The sitting room reeked of damp and mould, the source of which was seeping through the plaster on the south-facing gable end.’
    • ‘Soon I was prowling the old family orchard while doing my best to keep the lock shielded from the damp.’
    • ‘Nor is it contended that it results from rising damp or penetrating damp.’
    • ‘Energy efficiency lowers maintenance costs as a result of reduced condensation and damp and makes it cheaper for landlords and tenants to heat their properties.’
    • ‘He could have coped a lot better were it not for the accompanying stomach cramps and cold sweat - there was enough damp in the room without his contributing to it.’
    • ‘The family soon found damp in Imogen's bedroom which caused green mould.’
    • ‘The mobile classrooms have damp, mould, crumbling walls, hazardous wiring, rotten beams, etc.’
    moisture, dampness, humidity, wetness, wet, water, liquid, condensation, steam, vapour, clamminess, mugginess, dankness, wateriness
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    1. 1.1
      short for firedamp
      • ‘He had been asked to investigate "fire-damp" (methane gas) explosions in coal mines, caused by the candles miners used as lighting.’
      • ‘If the flame got larger, they knew they were encountering "fire damp" (methane gas).’
      • ‘Methane is a nonpoisonous, tasteless, odorless and colorless gas. It is also known as marsh gas (CH4) and, when mixed with air, it forms fire-damp.’
    2. 1.2dampsarchaic Damp air or atmosphere.
      ‘the damps of the valley’
      • ‘A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.’
      • ‘Cliff said, "In those days they called it foul air, bad air, the damps. Air without oxygen is what I think it was.’
      • ‘Stay not in this evil den; for the air is chill, and the damps are fatal; nor will any, that perish within it, ever find the path to Heaven.’
  • 2archaic A discouragement or check.

    ‘shame gave a damp to her triumph’
    • ‘Even though defensive coordinators have had ample time to study the triplets, they have yet to discover how to put damps on them.’
    • ‘The rising number of free services may have prompted a report circulating last week that AOL has put the damps on content partners, requiring them to limit links and joint ad campaigns with free ISPs.’
    deterrent, disincentive
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  • 1Make (something) slightly wet.

    ‘damp a small area with water’
    • ‘Alternatively, damp a cloth with kerosene oil and carefully wipe the insects off with it.’
    • ‘The tooling was done by damping the surface of the tanned leather and pressing or sometimes stamping the design in with a fairly sharp metal, bone or wooden tool.’
    • ‘When they were dry they were damped and rolled for the dampness to spread evenly before they were ironed with an iron heated and reheated on the stove.’
    moisten, wet, dew, water, irrigate, humidify
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  • 2damp something downMake a fire burn less strongly by reducing the flow of air to it.

    ‘he damped down the fire for the night’
    • ‘He said it took the two crews ten minutes to fight the fire with foam and ten minutes to damp the car down with water.’
    • ‘Fire crews stayed until nearly 5am damping the building down.’
    • ‘After the building was damped down yesterday, structural experts deemed it unsound and ordered its demolition.’
    • ‘Although I wasn't on duty for the fire, I was there in the evening damping it down.’
    • ‘Firefighters from Canvey had to spend two-and-a-half hours damping down the store.’
    • ‘Firefighters worked solidly for three hours to kill the flames, and spent a further 21 hours damping down the fire and making the building safe.’
    • ‘Firefighters spent two hours damping down and searching for hot-spots in the walls after extinguishing the fire that destroyed Lidl's galvanized steel compound after midnight on Thursday night.’
    • ‘Firefighters worked until just after 6pm damping down the blaze.’
    • ‘Six engines attended the fire, involving over 30 fire-fighters, and crews were still damping down the flames on Wednesday morning.’
    • ‘It took 64 firemen around six hours to bring the blaze at the Alba Proteins Ltd plant at Wildriggs under control last Thursday morning and they were at the scene for a further eight hours damping down.’
    • ‘Basildon station officer Nick Beaver told how two crews took around 20 minutes to douse the flames and were there for another two hours damping down.’
    • ‘Fire crews from Richmond, Kensington, North Kensington and Wembley remained at the scene, damping down the building, until late on Tuesday although the blaze was under control by 7.33 am.’
    • ‘It took at least five hours to bring the blaze under control and we expect to be damping down at the scene for at least the rest of the day.’
    • ‘Firefighters were expected to be at the mill for several hours damping down after the blaze and ensuring the site was safe.’
    • ‘Firefighters were still damping down the building this morning.’
    muffle, deaden, stifle, dampen, damp down, smother, reduce, diminish, decrease, suppress, abate, tone down, moderate, silence, mute, still, quieten, soften, quell
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    1. 2.1 Control or restrain a feeling or a situation.
      ‘she tried to damp down her feelings of despair’
      • ‘Polley is unshowy and controlled in the star part, damping down her intelligence, beauty and almost all of her emotion for the role.’
      • ‘Asian multilateralism will be critical not just for coordinating the region's booming economies, but also for damping down the nationalist passions lurking beneath the surface of every Asian country.’
      lessen, decrease, diminish, reduce, lower, moderate, damp down, put a damper on, throw cold water on, calm, cool, chill, dull, blunt, tone down, deaden, temper, discourage
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  • 3Reduce or stop the vibration of (the strings of a piano or other musical instrument) so as to reduce the volume of sound.

    ‘the muted notes should be produced by damping the strings at the seventh position’
    ‘an ensemble of drums including a foot-damped instrument’
    • ‘Although the escapement enables the hammer to fall away from the string, the damper is not allowed to fall back and damp the string until the key is released.’
    • ‘This guitar also has an ebony arm-rest to keep your arm from damping the sound from the top.’
    1. 3.1Physics Progressively reduce the amplitude of (an oscillation or vibration)
      ‘concrete structures damp out any vibrations’
      ‘a damped suspension that isolates the chassis from external vibration’
      • ‘Head stack assembly have a coil portion for damping vibrations which includes elongated openings in the plastic portion’
      • ‘If the frequency of the sinusoidal oscillations in migration were higher, we would expect [mu] to be progressively damped as window size increased.’
      • ‘Adding real-time modal analysis could potentially enhance this process, as disturbances are oscillatory and could be negatively damped.’
      • ‘In this case, the accelerometers could damp or increase the vibrations through their contact with the vehicle.’
      • ‘The studies also indicate that the ceramic readily dissipates energy, meaning that it could be useful for damping vibrations in machinery.’
      • ‘Constitutive expression of SinR from P 3 damps the oscillations, leading to a stable steady state.’
      • ‘A little while ago he sent me a proposed solution by email, a method of moving the cup while you walk that should serve to damp the oscillations.’
      • ‘The inner elements do the final guiding and also damp out vibrations normal to the tape plane to present a smooth motion over the head.’
      • ‘When the signal is correlated with a dwell time much longer than its frequency, the signal gets effectively averaged out in each dwell time and the calculated correlation function gets damped.’
      • ‘With a D bearing next to the head, it is not possible to damp out normal tape vibrations.’
      • ‘Sometimes you have to go through several oscillations before you can damp out the yaw.’
      • ‘He applied sinusoidal compressions to the top of the I, and recorded how the structure damped the vibrations.’
      • ‘If the oscillations are not damped out, they could break the fragile lines of other suspended weights and become amplified.’


Middle English (in the noun sense ‘noxious inhalation’): of West Germanic origin; related to a Middle Low German word meaning ‘vapour, steam, smoke’.