Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To pack down tightly by a succession of blows or taps.
  • transitive v. To pack clay, sand, or dirt into (a drill hole) above an explosive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to plug up with clay, earth, dry sand, sod, or other material, as a hole bored in a rock, in order to prevent the force of the explosion from being misdirected.
  • v. To drive in or pack down by frequent gentle strokes; as, to tamp earth so as to make a smooth place.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. In blasting, to plug up with clay, earth, dry sand, sod, or other material, as a hole bored in a rock, in order to prevent the force of the explosion from being misdirected.
  • transitive v. To drive in or down by frequent gentle strokes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In blasting for quarrying and mining purposes, to fill (the hole made by the drill or borer) with tamping, after the charge of powder or other explosive has been introduced.
  • To force in or down by frequent and somewhat light strokes: as, to tamp mud so as to make a floor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. press down tightly
  • n. a tool for tamping (e.g., for tamping tobacco into a pipe bowl or a charge into a drill hole etc.)

Etymologies

Perhaps back-formation from tampin, variant of tampion.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably related to French tamponnerĀ ("to plug or stop"). See tampion. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • No knock that I could see - but a variation on the Staub tamp, which is a four quadrant tamp.

    Boing Boing: May 11, 2003 - May 17, 2003 Archives

  • I noted that he tamped extremely well and used the piston tamp, that is, the arm straight up and bent at the elbow.

    Boing Boing: May 11, 2003 - May 17, 2003 Archives

  • It's to kind of tamp down this sort of hysteria that led up to it.

    CNN Transcript Sep 8, 2009

  • And, in fact, one of the reasons that the White House put out this speech yesterday, so that everyone could read it, is to kind of tamp down this sort of hysteria that led up to it.

    CNN Transcript Sep 8, 2009

  • So, yes, as far as I know, the two times and each time those calls seemed intended, at least the leaking of the news of those calls seemed intended, to kind of tamp down this notion of a continuing feud.

    CNN Transcript Aug 7, 2008

  • So, yes, as far as I know, the two times, and, each time, those calls seemed intended -- at least, the leaking of the news of those calls seemed intended to kind of tamp down this notion of a continuing feud.

    CNN Transcript Aug 7, 2008

  • So they would like to really keep things quiet and kind of tamp down this whole vice presidential talk as best he can.

    CNN Transcript Jun 5, 2008

  • And basically, I think, started to kind of tamp down the wild expectations there are out there.

    CNN Transcript Nov 5, 2008

  • LIN: They can just contain these fire and kind of tamp them down a little bit then the fire - because the heat rising creates its own winds ...

    CNN Transcript Jan 1, 2006

  • I think that, you know, this was a time to kind of tamp tings down and not let it get as explosive as it's gotten now.

    CNN Transcript Mar 11, 2003

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Comments

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  • "Now for a bit of tamping down"

    -Nigella

    April 15, 2009

  • Like me stuffing palooka into a cardboard box? I've always wanted a word for that.

    July 16, 2008

  • tamp, to flatten, to batten, to squash down by repeated soft pats, slightly like stamp

    July 16, 2008

  • ...a moribund black rat
    with one red bubble slung from each shut nostril.
    Little bones crackle as she tamps it between
    too-narrow cast iron bars of a drain in
    the kerb.

    - Peter Reading, Eavesdropped, from Nothing for Anyone, 1977

    June 26, 2008