Dent vs dint

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A dent is a hollow depression in a surface, usually made by some sort of blow. Dent may also be used to describe a reduction in effect. Dent may also be used as a verb, related words are dents, dented and denting. Dent came into the English language in the fourteenth century as a variant of dint.

Dint is an archaic word which means the impressions left by blows, particularly impressions left by a weapon. Dint comes from the Old English dynt which means stroke with a weapon. Today, dint is chiefly used in the phrase by dint of, which signifies by means of, by force of.


The rain and snow hitting California this week — partly fueled by an El Niño now tied with the strongest on record — will put a dent in the state’s 5-year-old drought, but there’s a catch. (USA Today)

A hustler running a dent-repair scam on St. Louis drivers was caught on camera this summer as he tried to con people in the drive-thru of a Taco Bell, a witness says. (The Riverfront Times)

The police in Area Two have vowed to put a huge dent in crime in the three parishes, St Ann, St Mary and Portland, during 2016. (The Jamaica Gleaner)

Poor offtake by Iran, Nigeria to dent India’s rice exports (The Hindu)

By dint of positional demand he led from the front. (The Independent)

A perusal of the archives by dint of the technique – any attempt to read every word of all 18 would have led to irrecoverable coma – provides a potted history of sport’s near non-existent place in the government’s consciousness. (The South China Morning Post)