damp

\ \ [14] The familiar adjectival use of damp as ‘slightly wet’ is a comparatively recent development, from the 18th century. When the word was first borrowed into English, from Middle Low German damp, it was a noun meaning ‘vapour’ (an application which survives in fire-damp). It comes ultimately from a Germanic base *thump-. The first line of semantic development taken by the word in English was of a ‘noxious exhalation’ (including gas or even smoke, not just vapour), and this is reflected in its earliest adjectival use, in the late 16th century, meaning ‘dazed’, as if affected by such harmful fumes; ‘with looks downcast and damp’, John Milton, Paradise Lost 1667.
\ \ Another contemporary sense was ‘noxious’. But the 17th century saw the noun used more and more for specifically wet turbidity: ‘mist’, or simply ‘moisture’. And this formed the basis of the present-day adjectival sense.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Damp — (d[a^]mp), n. [Akin to LG., D., & Dan. damp vapor, steam, fog, G. dampf, Icel. dampi, Sw. damb dust, and to MNG. dimpfen to smoke, imp. dampf.] 1. Moisture; humidity; fog; fogginess; vapor. [1913 Webster] Night . . . with black air Accompanied,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • damp — damp; damp·en; damp·en·er; damp·er; damp·ish; damp·ly; damp·ness; damp·proof·er; damp·proof; damp·ish·ly; …   English syllables

  • Damp — Damp, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Damped}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Damping}.] [OE. dampen to choke, suffocate. See {Damp}, n.] 1. To render damp; to moisten; to make humid, or moderately wet; to dampen; as, to damp cloth. [1913 Webster] 2. To put out, as fire; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Damp — (d[a^]mp), a. [Compar. {Damper}; superl. {Dampest}.] 1. Being in a state between dry and wet; moderately wet; moist; humid. [1913 Webster] O erspread with a damp sweat and holy fear. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. Dejected; depressed; sunk. [R.] [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • damp — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ slightly wet. ► NOUN ▪ moisture in the air, on a surface, or in a solid. ► VERB 1) make damp. 2) (damp down) control or restrain (a feeling or situation). 3) (damp down …   English terms dictionary

  • damp — [damp] n. [MDu, vapor, steam, akin to OHG, MHG, Ger dampf < IE base * dhem , to smoke, mist > DANK] 1. a slight wetness; moisture 2. a harmful gas sometimes found in mines; firedamp; blackdamp 3. Archaic a dejected or depressed state adj. 1 …   English World dictionary

  • damp´en|er — damp|en «DAM puhn», transitive verb. 1. to make damp; moisten: »Mother sprinkles water over the clothes to dampen them before ironing. SYNONYM(S): wet. 2. Figurative. to cast a chill over; depress; discourage: »The sad news dampened our spirits.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • damp|en — «DAM puhn», transitive verb. 1. to make damp; moisten: »Mother sprinkles water over the clothes to dampen them before ironing. SYNONYM(S): wet. 2. Figurative. to cast a chill over; depress; discourage: »The sad news dampened our spirits. SYNONY …   Useful english dictionary

  • dAMP — ↑ Adenosinphosphat. * * * Dạmp,   Gemeinde im Kreis Rendsburg Eckernförde, Schleswig Holstein, Ostseebad, 1 600 Einwohner; Ferienzentrum Ostseebad Damp mit über 5 000 Betten, Sportmedizin …   Universal-Lexikon

  • damp — (n.) early 14c., a noxious vapor, perhaps in O.E. but there is no record of it. If not, probably from M.L.G. damp; ultimately in either case from P.Gmc. *dampaz (Cf. O.H.G. damph, Ger. Dampf vapor; O.N. dampi dust ). Sense of moisture, humidity… …   Etymology dictionary

  • damp — sb., en, e, ene, i sms. damp , fx dampstrygejern …   Dansk ordbog

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