Definition of tamp in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Pack (a blast hole) full of clay or sand to concentrate the force of the explosion.

    ‘when the hole was tamped to the top, gunpowder was inserted’
    • ‘Tamp, guide and retrieve materials in a blasthole only using nonsparking tools.’
    • ‘Tamp the plug on the buffer to ensure that it is properly seated.’
    • ‘Use only wooden rods for tamping; do not tamp too vigorously’
    1. 1.1 Ram or pack (a substance) down or into something firmly.
      ‘he tamped down the tobacco with his thumb’
      • ‘Use the end of a hand tool or a stick to tamp the soil until firm.’
      • ‘In firm ground you can just fill in around the hole and tamp the dirt down.’
      • ‘Lay the pavings with uniform joints and firmly tamp into the bedding.’
      • ‘After perfectly leveling the greenhouse site, the contractor brought in a rolling vibrator, a mechanical compactor, and tamped the disturbed soil solid.’
      • ‘The team used hand tools to tamp the aggregate into the mortar as the structure slowly rose from the seafloor.’
      • ‘He pushed some loose soil over the hole with his wellington boot and tamped it down.’
      • ‘Smooth the surface by tamping it with your putter or foot.’
      • ‘Once each layer is complete, the slip form is moved up and the next layer is tamped until the wall is complete.’
      • ‘I remember planting with my father, and having him explain how to work the soil, how azaleas liked their oak leaves or peat moss, how you tamped the dirt, gave them a drink.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, she rocked back and forth to tamp down the sand.’
      • ‘The concrete must be tamped or rammed down into its bed with a spade or rod.’
      • ‘When the post is properly aligned, tamp it thoroughly to pack the dirt (if used) around the base of the post.’
      • ‘If the level is too low, add more gravel before tamping the rest.’
      • ‘Gently tamp the soil around the base of each plant.’
      • ‘Once the soil is ready, he tamps the beds with a sheet of plywood so the soil is firm and flat.’
      • ‘Pack soil firmly and tamp to remove air pockets.’
      • ‘I learned to love early fall apples, their crisp taste tart on my tongue, and the feel of spring earth between my toes as I tamped down pea seeds behind my dad.’
      • ‘Lightly sprinkle the sand with water and tamp it down before installing the liner.’
      • ‘They also tamp the dirt around the seeds, giving the seeds a better chance of germinating.’
      • ‘After tamping a few square feet, use a yardstick or a ruler to measure the tamped depth.’
      compress, condense, pack down, press down, tamp down, cram down, ram down, flatten
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Early 19th century: probably a back-formation from tampin (interpreted as ‘tamping’), variant of tampion.