- a decreasing of the amplitude of an electrical or mechanical wave.
- an energy-absorbing mechanism or resistance circuit causing this decrease.
- a reduction in the amplitude of an oscillation or vibration as a result of energy being dissipated as heat.
adjective, damp·er, damp·est.
- slightly wet; moist: damp weather; a damp towel.
- unenthusiastic; dejected; depressed: The welcoming committee gave them a rather damp reception.
- moisture; humidity; moist air: damp that goes through your warmest clothes.
- a noxious or stifling vapor or gas, especially in a mine.
- depression of spirits; dejection.
- a restraining or discouraging force or factor.
verb (used with object)
- to make damp; moisten.
- to check or retard the energy, action, etc., of; deaden; dampen: A series of failures damped her enthusiasm.
- to stifle or suffocate; extinguish: to damp a furnace.
- Acoustics, Music. to check or retard the action of (a vibrating string); dull; deaden.
- Physics. to cause a decrease in amplitude of (successive oscillations or waves).
- damp off, to undergo damping-off.
- moistening or wetting
- stifling, as of spirits
- electronics the introduction of resistance into a resonant circuit with the result that the sharpness of response at the peak of a frequency is reduced
- engineering any method of dispersing energy in a vibrating system
- slightly wet, as from dew, steam, etc
- archaic dejected
- slight wetness; moisture; humidity
- rank air or poisonous gas, esp in a mineSee also firedamp
- a discouragement; damper
- archaic dejection
- to make slightly wet
- (often foll by down) to stifle or deadento damp one’s ardour
- (often foll by down) to reduce the flow of air to (a fire) to make it burn more slowly or to extinguish it
- physics to reduce the amplitude of (an oscillation or wave)
- music to muffle (the sound of an instrument)
late 14c., “to suffocate,” from damp (n.). Figurative meaning “to deaden (the spirits, etc.)” attested by 1540s. Meaning “to moisten” is recorded from 1670s. Related: Damped; damping.
1580s, “dazed,” from damp (n.). Meaning “slightly wet” is from 1706. Related: Dampness.
early 14c., “a noxious vapor,” perhaps in Old English but there is no record of it. If not, probably from Middle Low German damp; ultimately in either case from Proto-Germanic *dampaz (cf. Old High German damph, German Dampf “vapor;” Old Norse dampi “dust”). Sense of “moisture, humidity” is first certainly attested 1706.
- The action of a substance or of an element in a mechanical or electrical device that gradually reduces the degree of oscillation, vibration, or signal intensity, or prevents it from increasing. For example, sound-proofing technology dampens the oscillations of sound waves. Built-in damping is a crucial design element in technology that involves the creation of oscillations and vibrations.