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[tamp] /tæmp/
verb (used with object)
to force in or down by repeated, rather light, strokes:
He tamped the tobacco in his pipe.
(in blasting) to fill (a drilled hole) with earth or the like after the charge has been inserted.
Origin of tamp
1810-20; perhaps alteration of tampion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tamp
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To this he affixed a cap and fuse, and clapping on his tamp of clay, lit the fuse, and ran into the tunnel.

    The White Mice Richard Harding Davis
  • I could tamp a keg of powder so snugly into the hole of those skunks!

    The Face of the Fields Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Into this hole the pile is dropped, and the sea-waves in a moment fill in and tamp the sand around it.

    The Columbia River William Denison Lyman
  • It is always a profitable labor to tamp the ground firmly about all the posts every spring.

    American Grape Training Liberty Hyde (L.H.) Bailey
  • Then add sufficient of above solution to hold it together without being plastic, as that would be too wet to tamp.

    Electric Gas Lighting Norman H. Schneider
British Dictionary definitions for tamp


verb (transitive)
to force or pack down firmly by repeated blows
to pack sand, earth, etc into (a drill hole) over an explosive
Word Origin
C17: probably a back formation from tampin (obsolete variant of tampion), which was taken as being a present participle tamping


verb (South Wales, dialect)
(transitive) to bounce (a ball)
(intransitive) usually foll by down. to pour with rain
Word Origin
probably special use of tamp1
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 tamp

1819, "to fill (a hole containing an explosive) with dirt or clay before blasting," a workmen's word, perhaps a back-formation from tampion, that word being mistaken as a present participle (*tamping).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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