1. One that deadens, restrains, or depresses: Rain put a damper on our picnic plans.
2. An adjustable plate, as in the flue of a furnace or stove, for controlling the draft.
a. A device in various keyboard instruments for deadening the vibrations of the strings.
b. A mute for various brass instruments.
4. A device that eliminates or diminishes vibrations or oscillations, as of a magnetic needle.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.