c. 1300, "harm, injury; hurt or loss to person, character, or estate," from Old French damage, domage "loss caused by injury" (12c., Modern French dommage), from dam "damage," from Latin damnum "loss, hurt, damage" (see damn). In law (as damages) "the value in money of what was lost or withheld, that which is given to repair a cost," from c. 1400. Colloquial sense of "cost, expense" is by 1755. Damage control "action taken to limit the effect of an accident or error" is attested by 1933 in U.S. Navy jargon.
"causing hurt or loss to person, character, or estate," 1849, present-participle adjective from damage (v.). Related: Damagingly (1849). Earlier in the same sense were damageous (late 14c.), damageful (mid-15c.), both now obsolete.
mid-15c., indempnite, "security or exemption against damage, loss, etc.," from Old French indemnité (14c.), from Late Latin indemnitatem (nominative indemnitas) "security for damage," from Latin indemnis "unhurt, undamaged," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + damnum "damage" (see damn). Meaning "legal exemption" is from 1640s; sense of "compensation for loss" is from 1793. Related: Indemnitor; indemnitee.
early 15c., "damage, state of adversity;" 1550s, "a great misfortune or cause of misery," from Old French calamite (14c.), from Latin calamitatem (nominative calamitas) "damage, loss, failure; disaster, misfortune, adversity," a word of obscure origin.
Early etymologists associated it with calamus "straw" (see shawm) on the notion of damage to crops, but this seems folk-etymology. Perhaps it is from a lost root also preserved in incolumis "uninjured," from PIE *kle-mo-, from *kel- "to strike, cut" (see holt). Calamity Jane was the nickname (attested by 1876) of U.S. frontierswoman, scout, and folk-hero Martha Jane Cannary (c. 1852-1903).