Word of the Day: Dam and Damn

by Aug 13, 2019The Dictionary Project: Word of the Day

dam / dăm 
  1. a wall built across a river or lake that controls water flow
    Words, like tranquil waters behind a dam, can become reckless and uncontrollable torrents of destruction when released without caution and wisdom.  William Arthur Ward, 1921 – 1994
  2. a barrier controlling the flow of liquids or other matter
    Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929 – 1968
  3. a body of water contained by a wall or other barrier
    With irrigation channels and rivers running dry and municipal water storage dams reaching record lows, California’s politicians are getting desperate for solutions to a drought that seemingly has no end. Marc Levine, 1974 –
  4. the mother of a domestic animal
    Those rocky islands the ship had passed were the resort of great numbers of seals, and some young seals that had lost their dams, or some dams that had lost their cubs, must have risen nigh the ship and kept company with her, crying and sobbing with their human sort of wail. From “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, 1819 – 1891
  1. to retain water or control its flow by means of a constructed barrier
    It is easier to dam a river than to stop gossip. Filipino Proverb
  2. to obstruct; to block
    How prone poor Humanity is to dam up the minutest remnants of its freedom, and build an artificial roof to prevent it looking up to the clear blue sky. E. T. A. Hoffmann, 1776 – 1822

damn / dăm 

  1. repugnant, detestable
    And he’s bad, bad Leroy Brown, The baddest man in the whole damn town, Badder than old King Kong, Meaner than a junkyard dog. Lyrics from the song “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce, 1943- 1973
adjective, adverb (prenomial) (slang)
  1. used to add emphasis
    Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. Elbert Hubbard, 1856 – 1915
  1. extremely
    Why is it so damn hard for people to talk? Tennessee Williams, 1911 – 1983
  1. nothing at all
    Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.  From the 1939 movie “Gone with the Wind”
  1. used to express anger, contempt or annoyance
    Damn! I don’t have that much time! Mitch Hedberg, 1968 – 2005
  1. to curse or swear
    Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences. George S. Patton, 1885 – 1945
  2. to condemn to failure, ruin or some other terrible fate
    Better have men reproach you for being good, than have God damn you for being wicked.  Thomas Watson, c. 1620 – 1686
  3. to judge as a failure
    Acquittal of the guilty damns the judge. Horace, 65 BC – 8 BC
  4. to condemn to eternal hell
    The man who is always worrying whether or not his soul would be damnedgenerally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn. Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809 – 1894
  5. to denounce or criticize greatly
    You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 – 1962

Thank you for including the Dictionary Project in the good work you do in your club.  In my club, we have provided Dictionaries for third-grade students for enough years that now we are having former students help us to present dictionaries each year.  They are often returning to the same classrooms that they were third-grade students.  Teachers plead every year for us to NEVER quit this valuable project.  They tell us that students NEED paper books to learn to read, to learn to do research and to do independent study.  Please send me pictures of your presentations and tell me about your visits to the schools to give dictionaries to the students. To be included in our newsletter you can send me your stories at DG.2019@5630mail.org.

By PDG Scott McLaughlin

District Governor 2019-2020
PDG Scott is currently serving as an Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 29 (Region 36). Scott is a member of the Paul Harris Society and Major Donor.Scott is a Rotarian in the Kearney Dawn Rotary Club of Kearney, NE

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