Definition of dent in English:

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Pronunciation: /dent/


1A slight hollow in a hard, even surface made by a blow or by the exertion of pressure.
Example sentences
  • The guard was hit so hard that the blow left a dent on his safety helmet.
  • 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.
  • Inside the bridge of the Goldoba, Ramirez clenched the rails around the helmsman's chair so hard he left dents in the metal.
indentation, dimple, dip, depression, hollow, crater, pit, trough
1.1A diminishing effect; a reduction: a dent in profits
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • A signature-revocation effort by opponents made a dent in the final tally but was not enough to keep the initiative off the ballot.
  • 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.
reduction, depletion, deduction, cut


[with object]
1Mark with a dent: the moose dropped a hind foot and dented the hood of the car
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The passenger side window was smashed, the light clusters were smashed, and the panels on the drivers side door were dented.
  • With a growl, Satyr turned on the engine and accelerated into his father's car, denting the side and scratching the doors.
indent, mark, ding
1.1Have an adverse effect on; diminish: this neither deterred him nor dented his enthusiasm
More example sentences
  • The adverse publicity dented the airline's reputation and at the end of the year a loss of £25,483 was recorded.
  • He insists the experience hasn't dented his enthusiasm for making another film, but he would never adapt one of his plays again.
  • But that has not dented his anticipation or enthusiasm for the coming campaign.
diminish, reduce, lessen, shrink, weaken, erode, undermine, sap, shake, damage, impair


Middle English (as a noun designating a blow with a weapon): variant of dint.

  • indent from Late Middle English:

    Although their meanings have in common an idea of a gap or notch, there are two completely unrelated words indent in English. One, meaning ‘to make a dent or impression in’, is formed directly from dent (Middle English) ‘a hollow made by a blow or pressure’, which is a variant form of dint. The other goes back to Latin dens ‘tooth’, the source of dental (late 16th century) and related words. Its first meaning was ‘to give a zigzag outline to’, like a set of sharp teeth. The legal term indenture (Late Middle English), ‘a legal document, contract, or agreement’, is related. Before the days of easy duplication, lawyers would write out the same contract twice on a single piece of parchment or paper. They would then separate the two sections with a serrated or wavy edge and give one to each party. If ever there was a dispute, the fact that the two edges fitted together was proof that they were the same agreement.

Words that rhyme with dent

absent, accent, anent, ascent, assent, augment, bent, cement, cent, circumvent, consent, content, event, extent, ferment, foment, forewent, forwent, frequent, gent, Ghent, Gwent, lament, leant, lent, meant, misrepresent, misspent, outwent, pent, percent, pigment, rent, scent, segment, sent, spent, stent, Stoke-on-Trent, Tashkent, tent, torment, Trent, underspent, underwent, vent, went

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dent

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