verb (used with object)
to make damp; moisten: to dampen a sponge.
to dull or deaden; depress: to dampen one's spirits.
damp ( def 10 ).
verb (used without object)
to become damp.

1620–30; damp + -en1

dampener, noun
undampened, adjective

damp, dampen, moist (see synonym study at damp).
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dampen (ˈdæmpən)
1.  to make or become damp
2.  (tr) to stifle; deaden

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

c.1630, "to dull or deaden" (of force, enthusiasm, ardor, etc.), from damp. Literal meaning "to moisten" is recorded from 1827. Related: Dampened (c.1630); dampener (1887).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In younger people the map stays sharp thanks to cells that dampen neural
  activity between areas representing different body parts.
Nicotine modifies these signaling processes and may help dampen extraneous
  neuronal activity.
She wears earplugs and rests her head on foam cushions to dampen the device's
  roar, as loud as a jet engine.
At the same time, microbial predators such as protozoa tend to dampen the
  efficiency of would-be oil-eating microbes.
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