1. a hollow or depression in a surface, as from a blow.
  2. a noticeable effect, especially of reduction: to leave a dent in one’s savings; a dent in one’s pride.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make a dent in or on; indent: The impact dented the car’s fender.
  2. to have the effect of reducing or slightly injuring: The caustic remark dented his ego.

verb (used without object)

  1. to show dents; become indented: Tin dents more easily than steel.
  2. to sink in, making a dent: Nails dent into metal.

  1. make a dent, Informal. to cause a person to take heed; make an impression: The doctor told him to stop smoking, but it didn’t make a dent.
  2. make a dent in, to show initial progress; pass an initial stage of (work, thought, solving a problem, etc.): I haven’t even made a dent in this pile of work.


  1. a hollow or dip in a surface, as one made by pressure or a blow
  2. an appreciable effect, esp of lesseninga dent in our resources


  1. to impress or be impressed with a dent or dents


  1. a toothlike protuberance, esp the tooth of a sprocket or gearwheel
  2. textiles the space between two wires in a loom through which a warp thread is drawn

late 14c., from dent (n.). Related: Dented; denting.


early 14c., “a strike or blow,” dialectal variant of Middle English dint (q.v.); sense of “indentation” first recorded 1560s, apparently influenced by indent.

see make a dent in.

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