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[ded-n] /ˈdɛd n/
verb (used with object)
to make less sensitive, active, energetic, or forcible; weaken:
to deaden sound; to deaden the senses; to deaden the force of a blow.
to lessen the velocity of; retard:
to deaden the headway of a ship.
to make impervious to sound, as a floor.
verb (used without object)
to become dead.
Origin of deaden
1655-65; dead + -en1
Related forms
deadener, noun
undeadened, adjective
1. blunt, diminish, lessen, numb, dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for deaden
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now he tapped gently on the cut glass with an iron chisel, whose head was covered by a piece of felt cloth to deaden the sound.

    Shadow, the Mysterious Detective Police Captain Howard
  • Ought she not to hold it apart, and to shield it with her hand to deaden its brightness?

  • He repeated the word to himself a thousand times to deaden his suspense and apprehension.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • Even concussion of the brain had failed to deaden the memory of that awful night.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • Don't you think there is something elemental in most of us which no veneer of civilisation or artificial living can ever deaden?

  • It would cripple his energies, and deaden his desire for active employment.

    The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
  • Ten years of prison, it will be hereafter noticed, did not deaden his Gilbert and Ralegh.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • A caution when the vessel is luffed up to deaden her way, followed by "heave."

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Fog, which one would naturally suppose would obscure or deaden the light, has instead great illuminating power.

British Dictionary definitions for deaden


to make or become less sensitive, intense, lively, etc; damp or be damped down; dull
(transitive) to make acoustically less resonant: he deadened the room with heavy curtains
Derived Forms
deadener, noun
deadening, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deaden

1660s "deprive of or diminish (some quality)," from dead (adj.) + -en (1). Earlier the verb was simply dead. Related: Deadened; deadening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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