What does the idiom "put a damper on" mean?

put a damper on is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression put a damper on is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "put a damper on"


The idiomatic phrase “to put a damper on” means to have a depressing or discouraging effect on something. It can be used to refer to activities, emotions, or enthusiasm.


The expression “to put a damper on” has origins tracing back to the 16th century. It originally referred to closing the dampers in the firebox of a furnace to reduce the air supply and reduce the heat. The damper was the physical object that was used to put a stop to the fire, and the phrase “to put a damper on” came to mean figuratively to stop or to inhibit something.


The phrase “to put a damper on” is typically used to express disappointment or discouragement. It can be used in any situation where enthusiasm is dampened or enthusiasm is dampened. For example, someone might say “the bad weather put a damper on our plans” to indicate that their plans were hindered or discouraged due to the weather conditions.

Example Sentences

  • The surprise cancellation of the show put a damper on the evening.
  • The poor reviews of the movie put a damper on its box office success.
  • The news of her aunt's ill health put a damper on the party.
  • The ongoing pandemic has put a damper on our holiday plans.

The meanings of the words in the "put a damper on" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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