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.
updated on October 13, 2021