Definition of dent in US English:



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

    • ‘Mark punches out angrily at a wall and makes a dent in the surface, hurting his fist.’
    • ‘When I went out in the morning, I'd see a fresh set of little dents in my front door.’
    • ‘Its condition is good, despite the surface dents.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alec was definitely sure of that-he saw a small dent in the front left bumper.’
    • ‘There was a slight dent in the sheets next to me, and I knew that Charles had been sleeping there last night.’
    • ‘Inside the bridge of the Goldoba, Ramirez clenched the rails around the helmsman's chair so hard he left dents in the metal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was his job to check the van out for scratches, dents and other damage.’
    • ‘The boot is in the original grey presentation box and is in good condition apart from a dent at the front.’
    • ‘Then, inspect the blades for pitting, nicks, dents, cracks and corrosion, especially on the leading edges and face.’
    • ‘The guard was hit so hard that the blow left a dent on his safety helmet.’
    • ‘All she saw was his armor with a slight dent in it.’
    • ‘The truck seemed to be fine, just a few dents in front, but Tricia's car was gone.’
    • ‘It was caked in rust and dents graced its large surface.’
    • ‘The Humvee had dents on the front and back from high-speed ramming, and the back windshield was damaged.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Exterior parts need to be checked as well - the hood, doors, bumper may have cracks, dents and holes.’
    indentation, dint, dimple, dip, depression, hollow, crater, pit, trough
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    1. 1.1 A diminishing effect; a reduction.
      ‘a dent in profits’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the potential medical consequences have failed to make a dent on sales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Certainly reason for concern, but money laundering legislation has not made a dent in the criminal drug activities.’
      • ‘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 forest was pitch black; even the moon hardly made a dent in the gloom.’
      • ‘My unprofessional opinion of these techniques of harvesting the eels is that it has made a dent in the eel population.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A signature-revocation effort by opponents made a dent in the final tally but was not enough to keep the initiative off the ballot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She may have made a dent in the male dominance of society but it was someone else who truly levelled the playing field.’
      • ‘But it's hard to make a dent in the fundamental ways we think and feel.’
      • ‘Both increased capacity and competition will allow consumers to pay less, putting a dent into corporate profits.’
      • ‘The ham was massive, and even this voracious assault had barely made a dent in its snacky deliciousness.’
      • ‘In the first year or so, your monthly bond repayment makes almost no dent in the capital amount owed.’
      reduction, depletion, deduction, cut, hole
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[with object]
  • 1Mark with a dent.

    ‘the moose dropped a hind foot and dented the hood of the car’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Blundell's chances had already been dented by an engine problem before he even had a chance to turn a wheel in anger.’
    • ‘Instead, you used pliers to pry at the window, ruining the seals and denting the window frame, making it infinitely more expensive to fix.’
    • ‘It also looked aged, the sides dented, and rusted from too much battle, not enough care.’
    • ‘The BMW's windscreen was smashed on the driver's side and the bonnet was left dented from the impact of the collision.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ryo had totally missed the trashcan and instead had dented someone's mailbox a few feet away from the target.’
    • ‘Our hood was crumpled and the fender was dented, but the engine continued to run.’
    • ‘He slammed into a dumpster, denting the side before dropping to the hard asphalt bruised, but miraculously unbroken.’
    • ‘He lashed out with his boot at his own car, denting the door bodywork.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such humility filled him, that when he was reunited with his family he cast aside his crown, denting it on one side.’
    • ‘With a growl, Satyr turned on the engine and accelerated into his father's car, denting the side and scratching the doors.’
    • ‘The winter, unwilling to pass easily without denting our consciousness, made a surprising joint appearance with the new moon last weekend.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The driver of the vehicle that Eubank reversed into, denting the bumper and smashing a headlight, said: ‘He reversed into me without looking.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They even brought an extra mower (hence the truck that ended up denting my garage door).’
    • ‘He was pulling the handle then started kicking the driver's door, pulling his leg right back and denting it.’
    make a dent in, make an indentation in, dint, indent, mark
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    1. 1.1 Have an adverse effect on; diminish.
      ‘this neither deterred him nor dented his enthusiasm’
      • ‘But, remarkably, the scandals passed over without denting his credibility, even among conservative voters.’
      • ‘But it is bound to dent the widespread public sympathy to those devastated by foot and mouth disease.’
      • ‘A second consecutive defeat has severely dented Oxford's promotion hopes, despite the home side scoring an early goal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As much as it dents my already injured pride, Scorpion is right.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Peter may be nursing a nasty foot injury, but his confidence has not been dented.’
      • ‘DVD sales may already be denting the box office.’
      • ‘Ironically, much of it dents fund-raising fetes and shows, precisely the opposite result of what organisers expect from a charity event.’
      • ‘Slightly annoyingly I am not allowed to close them for two days, which rather dents the initial excitement of finally having curtains.’
      • ‘The adverse publicity dented the airline's reputation and at the end of the year a loss of £25,483 was recorded.’
      • ‘Terrorism, floods and foot and mouth disease have combined to dent visitor numbers and the county's confidence.’
      • ‘But that has not dented his anticipation or enthusiasm for the coming campaign.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wellstone's negatives are already high, and political ads aren't likely to dent his solid base of support.’
      • ‘Nobody's going to vote for something which dents their chances of getting to the World Cup.’
      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.