damn with faint praise


verb (used with object)
to declare (something) to be bad, unfit, invalid, or illegal.
to condemn as a failure: to damn a play.
to bring condemnation upon; ruin.
to doom to eternal punishment or condemn to hell.
to swear at or curse, using the word “damn”: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
verb (used without object)
to use the word “damn”; swear.
(used as an expletive to express anger, annoyance, disgust, etc.)
the utterance of “damn” in swearing or for emphasis.
something of negligible value: not worth a damn.
damned ( defs 2, 3 ).
damn well, Informal. damned ( def 7 ).
damn with faint praise, to praise so moderately as, in effect, to condemn: The critic damned the opera with faint praise when he termed the production adequate.
give a damn, Informal. to care; be concerned; consider as important: You shouldn't give a damn about their opinions. Also, give a darn.

1250–1300; Middle English dam(p)nen < Old French dam(p)ner < Latin damnāre to condemn, derivative of damnum damage, fine, harm

damner, noun
predamn, verb (used with object)

2. berate, censure, denounce, disparage, blast.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
damn (dæm)
1.  slang an exclamation of annoyance (often in exclamatory phrases such as damn it! damn you! etc)
2.  informal an exclamation of surprise or pleasure (esp in the exclamatory phrase damn me!)
3.  slang (prenominal) deserving damnation; detestable
adv, —adj
4.  slang (intensifier): damn fool; a damn good pianist
5.  slang damn all absolutely nothing
6.  to condemn as bad, worthless, etc
7.  to curse
8.  to condemn to eternal damnation
9.  (often passive) to doom to ruin; cause to fail: the venture was damned from the start
10.  (also intr) to prove (someone) guilty: damning evidence
11.  to swear (at) using the word damn
12.  informal (Brit) as near as damn it as near as possible; very near
13.  damn with faint praise to praise so unenthusiastically that the effect is condemnation
14.  slang something of negligible value; jot (esp in the phrase not worth a damn)
15.  informal not give a damn to be unconcerned; not care
[C13: from Old French dampner, from Latin damnāre to injure, condemn, from damnum loss, injury, penalty]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., "to condemn," from O.Fr. damner, derivative of L. verb damnare, from noun damnum "damage, loss, hurt." Latin word evolved a legal meaning of "pronounce judgment upon." Theological sense is first recorded early 14c.; the optative expletive use likely is as old. Damn and its derivatives generally
were avoided in print from 18c. to c.1930s (the famous line in "Gone with the Wind" was a breakthrough and required much effort by the studio). To be not worth a damn is from 1817. Damn Yankee, characteristic Southern U.S. term for "Northerner," is attested from 1812.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

damn with faint praise definition

To criticize someone or something indirectly by giving a slight compliment: “When the critic remarked that Miller's book was ‘not as bad as some I've read,’ she was obviously damning it with faint praise.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

damn with faint praise

Compliment so feebly that it amounts to no compliment at all, or even implies condemnation. For example, The reviewer damned the singer with faint praise, admiring her dress but not mentioning her voice. This idea was already expressed in Roman times by Favorinus (c. a.d. 110) but the actual expression comes from Alexander Pope's Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot (1733): "Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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