Meaning of DAMAGE in English


I. dam ‧ age 1 S3 W2 /ˈdæmɪdʒ/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ damage , damages; verb : ↑ damage ; adjective : ↑ damaging ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: dam 'damage' , from Latin damnum ; ⇨ ↑ damn 4 ]

1 . PHYSICAL HARM [uncountable] physical harm that is done to something or to a part of someone’s body, so that it is broken or injured

damage to

damage to property

These chemicals have been found to cause serious environmental damage.

There may be permanent brain damage. brain .

His eyesight suffered irreparable damage.

2 . EMOTIONAL HARM [uncountable] harm caused to someone’s emotions or mind:

The death of a parent can cause long-lasting psychological damage.

3 . BAD EFFECT [uncountable] a bad effect on something

damage to

The damage to his reputation was considerable.

The closure of the factory will cause severe damage to the local economy.

damage limitation/control

the attempts at political damage control during the scandal

4 . damages [plural] law money that a court orders someone to pay to someone else as a punishment for harming them or their property ⇨ compensation :

The court awarded him £15,000 in damages.

5 . the damage is done used to say that something bad has happened which makes it impossible to go back to the way things were before it happened:

She immediately apologized, but the damage was done.

6 . what’s the damage? spoken used humorously to ask how much you have to pay for something

• • •


■ verbs

▪ do damage

Too much sun can do severe damage to your skin.

▪ cause damage

We surveyed the damage caused by the bomb.

▪ suffer/sustain damage formal

She has suffered damage to her hearing.

▪ repair the damage

The cost of repairing the damage could be around £300 million.

▪ prevent/avoid damage

Young trees need protecting to prevent damage from the wind.


▪ serious/severe

The earthquake caused severe damage to a number of buildings.

▪ extensive/widespread (=covering a large area)

Because of the size of the bomb, the damage was extensive.

▪ permanent/irreparable/irreversible damage (=that cannot be repaired)

By smoking for so long, she may have suffered irreversible damage to her health.

▪ minor damage

Fortunately, the fire caused only minor damage.

▪ physical damage

There is considerable evidence that the drug can cause physical damage.

▪ structural damage (=to the structure of a building)

The building was checked for structural damage.

▪ environmental damage

The programme will concentrate on reducing environmental damage and pollution.

▪ fire/storm/flood etc damage (=caused by fire, storm, flood etc)

The campsite suffered extensive flood damage.

▪ brain/liver/nerve etc damage

If you drink a lot of alcohol it can cause liver damage.

▪ accidental damage (=caused by an accident)

The insurance covers you for accidental damage to your possessions while you are on holiday.

▪ criminal damage (=caused by someone committing a crime)

The boy was charged with criminal damage after setting fire to his girlfriend’s house.

II. damage 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ damage , damages; verb : ↑ damage ; adjective : ↑ damaging ]

1 . to cause physical harm to something or to part of someone’s body:

insects that damage crops

badly/severely/seriously damage

Smoking can severely damage your health.

2 . to have a bad effect on something or someone in a way that makes them weaker or less successful:

The changes in share values have damaged investor confidence.

• • •


▪ damage to cause physical harm to something or someone, or have a bad effect on them:

Several buildings were damaged by the earthquake.


The other car wasn’t damaged.


The scandal could damage his career.

▪ harm to have a bad effect on something:

They use chemicals that will harm the environment.


The oil crisis could harm the economy.

▪ spoil to have a bad effect on something and make it less successful, enjoyable, useful etc:

We didn’t let the rain spoil our holiday.


Local people say the new buildings will spoil the view.

▪ vandalize to deliberately damage buildings, vehicles, or public property:

All the public telephones in the area had been vandalized.

▪ sabotage /ˈsæbətɑːʒ/ to secretly damage machines or equipment so that they cannot be used, especially in order to harm an enemy:

There is evidence that the airplane was sabotaged.

▪ tamper with something to deliberately and illegally damage or change a part of something in order to prevent it from working properly:

The car’s brakes had been tampered with.

▪ desecrate to damage a church or other holy place:

The church had been desecrated by vandals.

▪ deface /dɪˈfeɪs/ to deliberately spoil the appearance of something by writing on it, spraying paint on it etc:

Someone had defaced the statue and painted it bright orange.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.