"saturated with cold moisture," c. 1400, earlier as a verb (early 14c.), now obsolete, meaning "to moisten," used of mists, dews, etc. Perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Swedish dank "moist place," dänka "to moisten") or German (compare Middle High German damph, Dutch damp "vapor"). Now largely superseded by damp (adj.). As a noun, "cold moisture," c. 1400. Related: Dankly; dankness.