Definition of dent in English:



  • 1A slight hollow in a hard even surface made by a blow or pressure.

    ‘there was a hideous dent in the front passenger door’
    • ‘Inside the bridge of the Goldoba, Ramirez clenched the rails around the helmsman's chair so hard he left dents in the metal.’
    • ‘The primary use of ‘dimple’ is in reference to small hollows formed by the cheeks when smiling or to a small dent in the surface of the chin.’
    • ‘The Humvee had dents on the front and back from high-speed ramming, and the back windshield was damaged.’
    • ‘Exterior parts need to be checked as well - the hood, doors, bumper may have cracks, dents and holes.’
    • ‘The guard was hit so hard that the blow left a dent on his safety helmet.’
    • ‘For a second I thought the bullet had gone right through, as I felt a pain in the front and back of my head, but I soon realised the bullet had done little damage other than make a slight dent in my skull.’
    • ‘He stared unbelievingly through the windshield at the rocks bouncing madly on the hood and the growing profusion of small dents on the surface of the metal.’
    • ‘There was a slight dent in the sheets next to me, and I knew that Charles had been sleeping there last night.’
    • ‘Then, inspect the blades for pitting, nicks, dents, cracks and corrosion, especially on the leading edges and face.’
    • ‘When I went out in the morning, I'd see a fresh set of little dents in my front door.’
    • ‘The boot is in the original grey presentation box and is in good condition apart from a dent at the front.’
    • ‘The truck seemed to be fine, just a few dents in front, but Tricia's car was gone.’
    • ‘It was his job to check the van out for scratches, dents and other damage.’
    • ‘Mark punches out angrily at a wall and makes a dent in the surface, hurting his fist.’
    • ‘The black paintwork of this car was in very good condition, the only marks being a small scuff on the rear bumper plus a slight dent on the off side rear wheel arch.’
    • ‘Then I hit something on the track and put a dent in the front suspension and damaged the aerodynamics a little, and we were not able to get that fixed completely.’
    • ‘Its condition is good, despite the surface dents.’
    • ‘All she saw was his armor with a slight dent in it.’
    • ‘Alec was definitely sure of that-he saw a small dent in the front left bumper.’
    • ‘It was caked in rust and dents graced its large surface.’
    indentation, dint, dimple, dip, depression, hollow, crater, pit, trough
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  • 2A reduction in amount or size.

    ‘he has barely made a dent in the poverty rate’
    • ‘Well I'm just in from a good forty minutes of hard labour all just to make a pathetic dent in the snow outside my front door.’
    • ‘She may have made a dent in the male dominance of society but it was someone else who truly levelled the playing field.’
    • ‘The forest was pitch black; even the moon hardly made a dent in the gloom.’
    • ‘Still seven years doesn't really make the slightest dent in the fact that it probably sounded as vicious back then as it does now.’
    • ‘A signature-revocation effort by opponents made a dent in the final tally but was not enough to keep the initiative off the ballot.’
    • ‘In the first year or so, your monthly bond repayment makes almost no dent in the capital amount owed.’
    • ‘My unprofessional opinion of these techniques of harvesting the eels is that it has made a dent in the eel population.’
    • ‘The legal settlements companies now regularly pay out have not dented this margin because consumers foot the bill through huge price hikes.’
    • ‘They have been tearing away at the rubble for a week now, and more than 10,000 tonnes has been removed, But it has hardly made a dent in the mountain.’
    • ‘Both increased capacity and competition will allow consumers to pay less, putting a dent into corporate profits.’
    • ‘But the potential medical consequences have failed to make a dent on sales.’
    • ‘But the wage demands of players in recent years have been such that these vast sums have barely made a dent in the economic problems of English football.’
    • ‘Now come, you've hardly made a dent in those wonderful sandwiches I made, and there's a plateful of cookies that need to be eaten lest they go to waste.’
    • ‘The ham was massive, and even this voracious assault had barely made a dent in its snacky deliciousness.’
    • ‘As a result, there is unlikely to be even the slightest dent in the demand for gold from India, particularly as we remain in the festival season.’
    • ‘Also looking wistfully at the three library books I must return tomorrow; I've had them for six weeks, but have scarce made a dent in them, such is my perdition.’
    • ‘But it's hard to make a dent in the fundamental ways we think and feel.’
    • ‘Making an effective dent in energy costs requires a deeper understanding of energy than just how much electricity facilities use.’
    • ‘The walls were still bare and there were plenty of unopened boxes, but she had made a dent in the unpacking and the place was starting to look inhabited.’
    • ‘Certainly reason for concern, but money laundering legislation has not made a dent in the criminal drug activities.’
    reduction, depletion, deduction, cut, hole
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[with object]
  • 1Mark with a dent.

    ‘he hit a concrete bollard, denting the wing’
    • ‘It also looked aged, the sides dented, and rusted from too much battle, not enough care.’
    • ‘They even brought an extra mower (hence the truck that ended up denting my garage door).’
    • ‘The passenger side window was smashed, the light clusters were smashed, and the panels on the drivers side door were dented.’
    • ‘He hit a Chevrolet Cavalier in the driveway, denting the trunk and cutting a Z-shape in the antennae.’
    • ‘He lashed out with his boot at his own car, denting the door bodywork.’
    • ‘As he walked away he was seen using his heel to dent the car door before kicking a wing mirror and taking out a key, which he dragged over the bonnet.’
    • ‘I think I had a passing comment about having tea but not being able to sit back on the sofa for fear of denting it, at which point they extracted a story about my relatives in the Lake District from me.’
    • ‘The BMW's windscreen was smashed on the driver's side and the bonnet was left dented from the impact of the collision.’
    • ‘The driver of the vehicle that Eubank reversed into, denting the bumper and smashing a headlight, said: ‘He reversed into me without looking.’’
    • ‘Instead, you used pliers to pry at the window, ruining the seals and denting the window frame, making it infinitely more expensive to fix.’
    • ‘With a growl, Satyr turned on the engine and accelerated into his father's car, denting the side and scratching the doors.’
    • ‘Ryo had totally missed the trashcan and instead had dented someone's mailbox a few feet away from the target.’
    • ‘He was pulling the handle then started kicking the driver's door, pulling his leg right back and denting it.’
    • ‘Our hood was crumpled and the fender was dented, but the engine continued to run.’
    • ‘Such humility filled him, that when he was reunited with his family he cast aside his crown, denting it on one side.’
    • ‘The leading theory is that someone took pancakes, which have been around forever, and started denting them so that sauce or syrup would stay in the holes.’
    • ‘Blundell's chances had already been dented by an engine problem before he even had a chance to turn a wheel in anger.’
    • ‘The winter, unwilling to pass easily without denting our consciousness, made a surprising joint appearance with the new moon last weekend.’
    • ‘The body crumpled limply but inertia carried it into the side of a car with enough force to seriously dent the entire side and shove it three feet sideways into its parked neighbour.’
    • ‘He slammed into a dumpster, denting the side before dropping to the hard asphalt bruised, but miraculously unbroken.’
    make a dent in, make an indentation in, dint, indent, mark
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  • 2Have an adverse effect on; diminish.

    ‘this neither deterred him nor dented his enthusiasm’
    • ‘Peter may be nursing a nasty foot injury, but his confidence has not been dented.’
    • ‘Ironically, much of it dents fund-raising fetes and shows, precisely the opposite result of what organisers expect from a charity event.’
    • ‘Wellstone's negatives are already high, and political ads aren't likely to dent his solid base of support.’
    • ‘A second consecutive defeat has severely dented Oxford's promotion hopes, despite the home side scoring an early goal.’
    • ‘DVD sales may already be denting the box office.’
    • ‘As much as it dents my already injured pride, Scorpion is right.’
    • ‘But that has not dented his anticipation or enthusiasm for the coming campaign.’
    • ‘But, remarkably, the scandals passed over without denting his credibility, even among conservative voters.’
    • ‘Once the board is cut to size, handle it carefully - if you drop it or bang it around, you can easily break or bend the corners or even dent the face.’
    • ‘Nobody's going to vote for something which dents their chances of getting to the World Cup.’
    • ‘Terrorism, floods and foot and mouth disease have combined to dent visitor numbers and the county's confidence.’
    • ‘He insists the experience hasn't dented his enthusiasm for making another film, but he would never adapt one of his plays again.’
    • ‘Some importing counties fear that supplies will become so tight that they will face higher energy costs - denting an already fragile global economy.’
    • ‘Slightly annoyingly I am not allowed to close them for two days, which rather dents the initial excitement of finally having curtains.’
    • ‘But it is bound to dent the widespread public sympathy to those devastated by foot and mouth disease.’
    • ‘The adverse publicity dented the airline's reputation and at the end of the year a loss of £25,483 was recorded.’
    • ‘I saw any number of passengers with hand luggage, whose duty value should go some way in denting the Government's fiscal deficit, if properly assessed.’
    • ‘The home side's ambitions were, however, soon dented by two quick scores by Keighley.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly, York will be dented by defeat against a side they beat at home earlier in the season.’
    • ‘Rising inflation could force the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate, hampering lending activity and economic growth, and almost certainly denting purchasing power.’
    diminish, reduce, lessen, shrink, weaken, erode, undermine, sap, shake, break, crush, cripple, destroy, damage, impair
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Middle English (designating a blow with a weapon): variant of dint.