Middle English dampnen, also damnen, dammen, late 13c. as a legal term, "to condemn, declare guilty, convict;" c. 1300 in the theological sense of "doom to punishment in a future state," from Old French damner "damn, condemn; convict, blame; injure," derivative of Latin damnare "to adjudge guilty; to doom; to condemn, blame, reject," from noun damnum "damage, hurt, harm; loss, injury; a fine, penalty," from Proto-Italic *dapno-, possibly from an ancient religious term from PIE *dap- "to apportion in exchange" [Watkins] or *dhp-no- "expense, investment" [de Vaan]. The -p- in the English word disappeared 16c.
The legal meaning "pronounce judgment upon" evolved in the Latin word. The optative expletive use likely is as old as the theological sense. Damn and its derivatives generally were avoided in print from 18c. to 1930s (the famous line in the film version of "Gone with the Wind" was a breakthrough and required much effort by the studio). Meaning "judge or pronounce (a work) to be bad by public expression" is from 1650s; to damn with faint praise is from Pope.
The noun is recorded from 1610s, "utterance of the word 'damn.'" To be not worth a damn is from 1817. To not give (or care) a damn is by 1760. The adjective is 1775, short for damned; Damn Yankee, the characteristic Southern U.S. term for "Northerner," is attested by 1812 (as damned). Related: Damning.
also goddamn, late 14c., "the characteristic national oath of Englishmen" [Century Dictionary]. from God + damn (v.). Goddam (Old French godon, 14c.) was said to have been a term of reproach applied to the English by the French.
Mais, fussent-ils [les anglais] cent mille Goddem de plus qu'a present, ils n'auront pas ce royaume. [Joan of Arc, 1431, quoted in Prosper de Barante's "Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne"]
Hence French godan "fraud, deception, humbug" (17c.). Compare Old French godeherre "characteristic exclamation uttered by the Germans," and goditoet, also considered a characteristic exclamation of the English. Goddammes was the nickname given by Puritans to Cavaliers, in consequence of the latter's supposed frequent employment of that oath.
1781 (in Sophia Lee's comedy "A Chapter of Accidents," which was acted first in 1780), a minced euphemism for damn.
mid-14c., dampnable, "worthy of condemnation," from Old French damnable and directly from Medieval Latin damnabilis "worthy of condemnation," from Latin damnare "to doom, condemn" (see damn). Meaning "odious, detestable, abominable, deserving of condemnation" is from c. 1400. Related: Damnably(late 14c., dampnably).
late 14c., dampned, "believed to be sentenced to punishment in a future state;" mid-15c., "condemned, judicially sentenced," past-participle adjective from damn (v.). Meaning "hateful, detestable" is from 1560s, hence its use as an objurgation expressing more or less dislike. In literary use printed 18c.-19c. as d____d. As a noun, "those condemned to eternal suffering in Hell," late 14c. Superlative damndest (originally damnedst) "worst one can do" is attested from 1830.
c. 1300, dampnacioun, "condemnation to Hell by God," also "fact of being condemned by judicial sentence," from Old French damnation, from Latin damnationem (nominative damnatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of damnare "to doom, condemn" (see damn). As an imprecation, attested from c. 1600.
Damnation follows death in other men,
But your damn'd Poet lives and writes agen.
[Pope, letter to Henry Cromwell, 1707 or 1708]
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.
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.
tame curse word, 1781, American English euphemism, a minced form of damn said to have originated in New England when swearing was a punishable offense; if so, its spread probably was influenced by 'tarnal, short for Eternal, as in By the Eternal (God), favorite exclamation of Andrew Jackson, among others (see tarnation). Mark Twain (who spells it dern) writes “this imprecation is a favorite one out in the ranching districts, and is generally used in the society of ladies, where a mild firm of expressionomy may be indulged in” (San Francisco, 1865). Related: darned (as a past-participle adjective, 1806); darndest (superlative, 1844), darnation (noun of action, 1798).