It’s Damping, Not Dampening, Dammit!

Dampening might be a concern when ironing, but damping is a concern when machining any metal.

Dampening might be a concern when ironing, but damping is a concern when machining any metal.

 

Dampening means “to make moist.” For example, my mom sprinkled water from a Coke bottle with a one-holed stopper to dampen the wash before she ironed it. Damping means “to quell vibrations.” This is what many mechanical systems in metalworking equipment are designed to do. Damping vibration is important because, in general, vibrations are bad for metalcutting processes. Excessive, unwanted vibration at the cutting tool is called “chatter,” a topic we’ve written about often. Read one of those articles here.

Dampening is frequently used in new product press releases, product literature, exhibit signage and in magazine articles when the correct word is damping (although the staff at MMS is on high alert to avoid this error!). If you catch us making this mistake, I want to know!

Then there’s vice (a nasty habit) and vise (a workholding device), but don’t get me started on that one.