dampen

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dampen down

1. To make a place or thing wet, especially in order to prevent, halt, or extinguish a fire. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "down." The flames may be under control, but if we don't dampen down the burnt materials and eliminate hot spots, it could start up again soon. The fire was mostly contained by 5 AM, with firefighters dampening the remaining areas down by 6.
2. To have a stifling, subduing, or deadening effect on something, such as an action or emotion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "down." The Federal Reserve's announcement seems to have dampened down the economy's recent growth. Hearing more details about the project certainly dampened my enthusiasm down for it.
See also: dampen, down

dampen off

1. To make something slightly wet. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "off." Workers are dampening off the paths to help keep dust under control during the hot, arid months.
2. Of a plant or seed, to die or fail to grow due to overexposure to water. I'm worried that days of torrential rain will cause the flowers I just planted to dampen off.
3. To kill a seed or young plant by overwatering them or exposing them to too much moisture. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "off." You shouldn't water the seedlings more than once a day if you want to avoid dampening them off.
4. To remove something by making a surface or material damp. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "off." The lacquer is resistant to stains, so you should be able to simply dampen off any marks or blemishes left from liquids.
5. To become stifled, subdued, or reduced in intensity. Consumers' interest in the product dampened off when it came to light that a newer model was already in development. The economy seems to be dampening off in light of the Federal Reserve's recent forecast.
6. To have a stifling, subduing, or deadening effect on something, such as an action or emotion. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dampen" and "off." We just installed new sound-absorbing windows to help dampen off all the road noise we hear during the night. Hearing more details about the project certainly dampened my enthusiasm off for it. If your stove is burning a bit too hot, you can spread a thin layer of ashes over the top to help dampen it off.
See also: dampen, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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