"one who or that which dampens," 1748, in the figurative sense, in reference to spirits, enthusiasm, etc., agent noun from damp (v.). In mechanical senses, "device for checking action:" 1783 in reference to a felt-covered piece of wood, etc., which deadens the string after the note is played; 1788 of a chimney, stove, etc., "metal plate in the flue used to control combustion by regulating the draft." Either or both reinforced the figurative senses. The piano damper-pedal (1848) raises the dampers of all the strings so the notes are prolonged and sympathetic vibrations produced.
updated on December 06, 2018