Damn Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Certain words in the English language, especially swear words, often have multiple definitions. The simple, four-letter word “damn” has several definitions used by English speakers all the time.

Because there is no one definition of damn, it can sometimes be perplexing. Hearing the word damn in conversation could bring confusion rather than clarity if you’re not familiar with all of these meanings. 

So, today’s word of the day is damn. By the end of this guide, you’ll be familiar with the word damn, its meanings, where it came from, and how to use it. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

What Is the Definition of the Word Damn?

The word damn, as you probably already know, is commonly used as a swear word in English. However, there is also a definition for this word that doesn’t fall under the curse word category. 

Here are the definitions of the word damn (dæm): 


  • A word used to express anger or pain, sometimes used as an interjection
  • A word used for emphasis


  • An emphatic way to say “very,” especially when you’re angry


  • A word expressing your annoyance about an object
  • An intensifier word that emphasizes an object or subject


  • Concern, care, or value; most often used in the phrase “give a damn” or “worth a damn”


  • To convict or condemn someone or something
  • (Of God) To punish to an eternity in hell 

As you can see, there are quite a few definitions for this simple little word. And while it is most often used as a cuss word in its exclamation, adverb, and adjective forms, the word is still used as a regular word when it is used in its verb form. 

The word damn is one of the more versatile expletives in the English language. It can be used in various scenarios to convey all sorts of emotions, from frustration to outright anger and even to faint praise.

Some Confusion

The word damn is often confused with another similarly pronounced word: dam. Damn is an expletive, but dam refers to a controlled blockage in a body of water, such as a river or a lake. 

Even though the definitions aren’t similar and they are spelled slightly differently, the words share the same pronunciation, which is what brings about confusion.

Common Collocations and Idioms

Because of how commonly the word damn is used, it has made its way into many collocations and idioms. A collocation is a common pairing of two words, and an idiom is a group of words with a collective definition different from the definition of its parts. Here is a list of common collocations and idioms that use the word damn. 

  • Tinker’s damn (to be interested in something)
  • A damn sight (A lot, much)
  • Give a damn (to care)
  • Worth a damn (worth something)
  • Damn fool
  • Damn thing
  • Damn you
  • Damn it 
  • Damn good

Where Did the Word Damn Come From?

To help bring more clarity to the word damn, let’s take a look at its etymology, the word’s history, and how it has evolved since its inception. 

The oldest ancestor of the word damn comes from the ancient Latin language. The Latin damnum meant “loss or damage.” Another form of the same word, the Latin damnāre or dampnare was similar, meaning “to cause a loss on something.” 

Eventually, this form of the word took an evolution and entered the Old French language. The Old French dampner. At this point in the word’s history, the definition evolved to the religious definition, “to condemn to hell.” 

This evolution is somewhat logical. The idea of hell is the idea of eternal suffering and loss, so the evolution of the word to mean “to curse, imprecate, or condemn to hell” is consistent. 

After this word had been established in Old French, the word moved into Middle English in about the 14th century in a somewhat strange spelling: the Middle English dampnen or dampne

By the 16th century, the word had evolved and had begun being used as a swear word in the way we know it today. Throughout the next couple of centuries, the spelling would change. In the 16th century, it was spelled damne. In the 17th century, it was spelled dam. And by the 18th century, it took the form we know today: damn.  

What Are Some Examples of Damn Used in a Sentence?

Here are some example sentences that use the word damn to help clarify the word’s meaning and how it is used in the English language. 

My damn neighbors hoot and holler at their parties all night, and it always wakes me up. 

I don’t give a damn it’s the biggest movie of the summer. You aren’t going! 

That was the best damn musical I’ve ever seen!

Damn! I just stubbed my toe. 

The damnedest thing just happened. I ran into Sally from high school.

That damn video game brings little value to your life, so I just might get rid of it.

If I could just find my damn pen, I could jot down your phone number. 

Damn! The Portuguese national team lost today. 

What Are the Synonyms of the Word Damn?

Here are some synonyms for the word damn that you might find in a thesaurus.

  • Darn
  • Dang
  • Shit
  • Rats
  • Curse
  • Blast
  • Ban
  • Banish
  • Punish
  • Convict
  • Sentence
  • Cast out
  • Penalize

The Word Damn

Damn is quite a nifty and useful word in the English language. And now you know everything you need to know about it, its meaning, and how to use it. Use it confidently in your writing and your casual conversation. If you need a reminder of its definition, come back to this article for all the info you need. 


​​DAMN | Cambridge English Dictionary 

DAMN English Definition and Meaning | Lexico 

Word of the Day: Dam and Damn | The Dictionary Project