Definition of damage in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdamɪdʒ/


1 [mass noun] Physical harm that impairs the value, usefulness, or normal function of something: bombing caused extensive damage to the town
More example sentences
  • Mr Smith said severe physical illness had resulted in physical damage to the brain.
  • Suspected items are not to be used as weapons or to cause bodily harm or damage to personal property in any way.
  • Luckily for us this incident had caused no harm or any damage to the equipment.
harm, injury, destruction, vandalization, vandalism;
impairment, defilement, desecration, defacement, disfigurement, scarring, mutilation, vitiation, detriment;
ruin, havoc, devastation;
wear and tear, battering, friction, erosion, attrition, corrosion, abrasion, deterioration, degeneration
rare detrition
1.1Detrimental effects: the damage to his reputation was considerable
More example sentences
  • The organization needs to be punished both in the courts and at the ballot box and if this happens then there will be no lasting damage to the peace process.
  • Jim was a sneaky little manipulator, and he could do a lot of damage to me behind my back.
  • I could find no discernible psychological damage or mental health difficulties.
2 (damages) A sum of money claimed or awarded in compensation for a loss or an injury: she was awarded $284,000 in damages
More example sentences
  • Before his death, he issued a writ against the defendant claiming damages for personal injuries.
  • He or she sues not only for personal injury but for damages for the loss or destruction of the motor vehicle.
  • Nor do I think it is necessary to achieve just satisfaction of the claimant's claim that damages should be awarded.
compensation, recompense, restitution, redress, reparation(s);
repayment, reimbursement, remuneration, requital, indemnification, indemnity, satisfaction
North American informal comp
archaic guerdon, meed
rare solatium


[with object]
1Inflict physical harm on (something) so as to impair its value, usefulness, or normal function: the car was badly damaged in the accident
More example sentences
  • Lomax's car was badly damaged and had a smashed windscreen and two shredded tyres.
  • This can result in a severely damaged thyroid gland that functions poorly or not at all.
  • The empty house became the target for vandals, and five years ago it was badly damaged in a fire.
harm, do damage to, injure, mar, deface, mutilate, mangle, impair, blemish, disfigure, vandalize, blight, spoil, defile, desecrate;
tamper with, sabotage, disrupt, play havoc with, vitiate;
ruin, devastate, destroy, wreck, cripple, drive a nail into the coffin of
North American informal trash
rare disfeature
1.1Have a detrimental effect on: the scandal could seriously damage his career
More example sentences
  • Its effects will be particularly damaging on small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • The slur made by your critic is a very serious and damaging one to the organization and its unconditional generosity.
  • She does not want her name used for fear of damaging her husband's future career.
harmful, detrimental, injurious, hurtful, inimical, dangerous, destructive, ruinous, calamitous, disastrous, deleterious, pernicious, ill, bad, evil, baleful, malign, corrupting, malignant, adverse, undesirable, prejudicial, unfavourable, unfortunate, counterproductive;
unhealthy, unwholesome, poisonous, cancerous, noxious, environmentally unfriendly
literary malefic, maleficent
rare prejudicious



the damage is done

Used to indicate that it is too late to prevent the occurrence of something unfortunate or undesirable: there didn’t seem any point in arguing now—the damage was done
More example sentences
  • He doesn't think it likely that the document will become official policy, but others argue the damage is done.
  • Then we got letters saying we could stay until after Christmas, but of course by then the damage is done.
  • Okay: if she repents then fine, that's for God to decide on in her next life, but the damage is done and nothing now could bring back those people's lives and the pain that their deaths have caused.

what's the damage?

informal, humorous Used to ask the cost of something.
Example sentences
  • I'll settle up now, what's the damage?
  • What's the damage? Forty quid a session.
cost, price, expense, charge, bill, account, total


Middle English: from Old French, from dam, damne 'loss or damage', from Latin damnum 'loss or hurt'; compare with damn.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dam¦age

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