• WordNet 3.6
    • v deaden convert (metallic mercury) into a grey powder consisting of minute globules, as by shaking with chalk or fatty oil
    • v deaden make less lively, intense, or vigorous; impair in vigor, force, activity, or sensation "Terror blunted her feelings","deaden a sound"
    • v deaden become lifeless, less lively, intense, or active; lose life, force, or vigor
    • v deaden make vague or obscure or make (an image) less visible "muffle the message"
    • v deaden lessen the momentum or velocity of "deaden a ship's headway"
    • v deaden make vapid or deprive of spirit "deadened wine"
    • v deaden cut a girdle around so as to kill by interrupting the circulation of water and nutrients "girdle the plant"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Deaden To deprive of gloss or brilliancy; to obscure; as, to deaden gilding by a coat of size.
    • Deaden To lessen the velocity or momentum of; to retard; as, to deaden a ship's headway.
    • Deaden To make as dead; to impair in vigor, force, activity, or sensation; to lessen the force or acuteness of; to blunt; as, to deaden the natural powers or feelings; to deaden a sound. "As harper lays his open palm
      Upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations."
    • Deaden To make vapid or spiritless; as, to deaden wine.
    • Deaden To render impervious to sound, as a wall or floor; to deafen.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • deaden To make dead (in a figurative sense); render less sensitive, active, energetic, or forcible; impair the sensitiveness or the strength of; dull; weaken: as, to deaden sound; to deaden the force of a ball; to deaden the sensibilities.
    • deaden To retard; hinder; lessen the velocity or momentum of: as, to deaden a ship's way (that is, to retard her progress).
    • deaden To make impervious to sound, as a floor.
    • deaden To make insipid, flat, or stale: said of wine or beer.
    • deaden To deprive of gloss or brilliancy: as, to deaden gilding by a coat of size.
    • deaden To kill; especially, to kill (trees) by girdling.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Deaden to make dead: to deprive partly of vigour or sensation: to blunt: to lessen
    • ***


  • W. Somerset Maugham
    “Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.”
  • Samuel Beckett
    “Habit is a great deadener.”
  • D. H. Lawrence
    “That is your trick, your bit of filthy magic: invisibility, and the anaesthetic power to deaden my attention in your direction.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Dead; cf. AS. ddan, to kill, put to death. See Dead (a.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. deád; Goth. dauths, Ger. todt, from root of die.


In literature:

The dried leaves are chewed to secure the desired deadening effect of the drug.
"Inca Land" by Hiram Bingham
The floor was overlaid with thick rugs which deadened her footfalls.
"Big Timber" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
The last was done to deaden the vessel's way, in order that the fugitives might reach her.
"Miles Wallingford" by James Fenimore Cooper
He felt the slow dampening of his own joy, the deadening clutch of yesterday at his heart.
"The Hunted Woman" by James Oliver Curwood
A vast cloud of smoke broke out of the hull, and then came the deadened roar of artillery.
"The Red Rover" by James Fenimore Cooper
The prince and Harry both shouted at the top of their voices, but the roar of the flames and the crash of falling beams deadened the sound.
"Friends, though divided" by G. A. Henty
She may terrify, but she never deadens, the soul.
"Vanishing Roads and Other Essays" by Richard Le Gallienne
Hard work and adversity have probably deadened his finer senses.
"Hodge and His Masters" by Richard Jefferies
All else was forgotten except our own part in the tragedy, even the thunder of artillery deadened by the continuous roll of small arms.
"Love Under Fire" by Randall Parrish
Dogma and creed deaden and cannot appeal to the reason of man.
"Crime: Its Cause and Treatment" by Clarence Darrow

In poetry:

Hark! for now a solemn knell
Four times on the still night broke;
Four times, at its deaden'd swell,
Echoes from the ruins spoke.
"Frederick and Alice" by Sir Walter Scott
My darling pain that wounds and sears,
And wrings a blessing out of tears
Be deadening me to earthly cares;
And yet, a king, though Prudence well
Have taught thy subject to rebel.
"Speak, God Of Visions" by Emily Jane Bronte
My darling pain that wounds and sears,
And wrings a blessing out from tears
By deadening me to earthly cares ;
And yet, a king, though Prudence well
Have taught thy subject to rebel.
"Plead For Me" by Emily Jane Bronte
And the midmost round of the garden was reddened
With pillars of fire in a great high ring—
One look—and our souls forever were deadened,
Though our feet yet move, and our dreams yet sting;
"The Three Pilgrims" by Archibald Lampman
Why does she hold her kerchief near
My nostrils? Sure, she is sincere!
A stupor deadens limb and will,
My brain receives impressions still, — But Oh, a deadness grips my heart;
Can it be true from life I part?
"Imogene" by Eloise Alberta Bibb
It almost seemed to me as deadening as the sluice of dreary Styx.
Fire and foulness mixed with leadening
Slush I drank; but swam the reddening
Stuff a league with weary licks.
Up a sulphurous bank
We climbed, and there I sank.
"Written In Hell" by Cale Young Rice

In news:

Danger Zone When conscience deadens.
Obama's Gaffes and the Deadening 'Teachable Moment'.
In Joe Meno 's new novel, set in the last year of the 20th century, art school dropout Odile Neff and amateur sound artist Jack Blevins work deadening office jobs.
His stimulus obsessions have deadened his thinking.
21 in the morning and it was enveloped by fog, cloaking the first tremors in a sound-deadening embrace.
One thing President Obama won't talk about in his jobs speech Thursday is the deadening effect of litigation on the US economy.
High blood pressure by deadening nerves near the.
St Jude Medical Inc said on Monday its procedure that deadens nerves near the kidneys helped lower blood pressure in a small study of patients whose hypertension could not be controlled with drugs.
A mindless summer rampage that deadens its potential blockbuster energy with low-budget production values.
With nighttime temperatures expected to hover above freezing, Ravens punter is hoping natural grass will deaden punts inside Steelers' 20-yard line.
Boston Scientific Corp said on Thursday it will acquire privately-held Vessix Vascular Inc, a developer of a catheter-based device that treats high blood pressure by deadening nerves near the kidneys.
James White Parkway deadens after the Moody Ave exit.
Defeating soul-deadening gridlock, monster potholes and dangerous road ice.
In combination with the maker's drywall adhesive, Acoustical Sound Sealant helps create a complete wall system that reduces drafts and deadens noise.
Jim Delany got up and turned a press conference into a "chat/filibuster," according to SI's Andy Staples, deadening a random conference room with the special brand of no-speak that only the true masters of PR have at their disposal.

In science:

Therefore, each cosmic ray should be assumed to deaden the entire detector for a period of time which is dependent on the dwell time of the muon track and the light inside the detector, the pulse shapes from PMTs, and the data acquisition electronics.
Report of the US long baseline neutrino experiment study
That is because the ratio of H to H e nuclei was frozen during a certain minute of the dynamics and, not sub ject to the deadening laws of equilibrium thermodynamics, has been largely unchanged to this day.
Summary of the XXX Rencontre de Moriond QCD Session