Definition of damage in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdamij/


1Physical harm caused to something in such a way as to impair its value, usefulness, or normal function.
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, destruction, vandalism;
injury, impairment, desecration, vitiation, detriment;
ruin, havoc, devastation
1.1Unwelcome and detrimental 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);
indemnification, indemnity


[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 (as adjective damaged) damaged ligaments
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, deface, mutilate, mangle, impair, injure, disfigure, vandalize;
tamper with, sabotage;
ruin, destroy, wreck, trash
formal vitiate
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, deleterious;
bad, malign, adverse, undesirable, prejudicial, unfavorable;
unhealthy, unwholesome


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, 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

Syllabification: dam·age

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