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.