When you put a damper on something, you restrain it or inhibit it. Putting a damper on things usually means bringing them down — your car troubles might put a damper on your travel plans.

A forecast of afternoon thunderstorms will put a damper on your picnic preparations, and being assigned a long research paper on Friday might be a damper on your weekend free time. More physical kinds of dampers include a device that restrains air in a chimney, by blocking or directing its flow, and a pad that's made to soften or muffle the sound from a musical instrument.

Definitions of damper

n a depressing restraint

“rain put a damper on our picnic plans”
Type of:
the act of controlling by restraining someone or something

n a movable iron plate that regulates the draft in a stove or chimney or furnace

Type of:
a sheet of metal or wood or glass or plastic

n a device that decreases the amplitude of electronic, mechanical, acoustical, or aerodynamic oscillations

show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
damper block, piano damper
damper consisting of a small felted block that drops onto a piano string to stop its vibration
a mechanical damper; the vibrating part is attached to a piston that moves in a chamber filled with liquid
cushion, shock, shock absorber
a mechanical damper; absorbs energy of sudden impulses
air cushion, air spring
a mechanical device using confined air to absorb the shock of motion
Type of:
an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.