The adjective "damp" describes the presence of water– but not a lot of water. We usually use "damp" for objects made of cloth, the ground, and the air. It’s similar to the adjective "moist."
- There’s a damp towel hanging on the towel rack.
- The ground is damp because it rained last night.
- The air felt damp after it rained.
- Our house feels damp because of the high humidity.
- It’s not a good idea to leave the house with damp hair in the winter.
- Her hair is damp because of the rain.
The word "dampen" is a verb. To dampen something is to make it wet, but it also means that something is reduced or made less.
- The woman dampened the towel with cold water and applied it to her forehead.
- I hate to dampen your spirits, but it looks like we aren’t going to make our goals for this quarter.
- Our expectations for a successful event were dampened by the weather.
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This page was first published on February 3, 2012. It was amended on December 29, 2014.