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Dent vs. Nick: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A dent is a hollow or depression in a hard surface, often caused by a blow, while a nick is a small cut or notch, usually on the edge or surface of something.
Dent vs. Nick

Key Differences

A dent is typically a small hollow in a hard surface caused by pressure or impact, often noticeable and potentially damaging to the object's aesthetic. A nick, in contrast, is a slight cut or scratch, usually superficial and often occurs on edges or surfaces.
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Dents are commonly associated with larger surfaces like car bodies or appliances, where they can affect both function and appearance. Nicks are more often found on tools, blades, or smaller objects, indicating minor damage or wear.
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The formation of a dent usually requires a certain level of force or impact, resulting in a noticeable deformation of the material. Nicks can occur with minimal force, often resulting from a slight abrasion or a sharp object's contact.
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Repairing a dent often involves reshaping the material to restore its original form. Fixing a nick might only require smoothing or sharpening the affected area, depending on the object.
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In metaphorical use, a dent can refer to a significant reduction or impact in something, like reputation. A nick, metaphorically, might represent a minor flaw or imperfection in otherwise smooth proceedings.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A hollow or depression in a hard surface due to impact.
A small cut or notch, often on the edge or surface.
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Nov 20, 2023

Common Occurrence

Larger surfaces like cars, metal objects.
Edges or surfaces of tools, blades.
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Cause

Usually caused by a significant force or blow.
Often results from slight abrasion or sharp contact.
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Effect on Object

Can affect both appearance and functionality.
Usually superficial, affecting appearance more than function.
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Repair

Often involves reshaping or refilling the material.
Typically requires smoothing or sharpening the edge.
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Dent and Nick Definitions

Dent

To cause a depression in a surface by pressure or impact.
He accidentally dented the metal frame when he dropped it.
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Nov 20, 2023

Nick

A small cut or notch, especially in an edge or surface.
He found a nick in the blade of his favorite knife.
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Nov 20, 2023

Dent

A significant decrease or reduction in amount or quality.
The scandal made a dent in the company's reputation.
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Nick

The exact moment or critical point in time.
The firefighters arrived in the nick of time to save the house.
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Dent

A noticeable impact or influence on something.
The new policy made a dent in the crime rates.
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Nick

A minor imperfection or flaw in an object or process.
There's a small nick in the glass, but it's barely noticeable.
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Nov 20, 2023

Dent

A small hollow in a surface caused by a blow or pressure.
The shopping cart left a noticeable dent in the car door.
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Nov 20, 2023

Nick

To arrest or capture someone.
The police nicked the suspect near the scene of the crime.
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Nov 20, 2023

Dent

A depression in a surface made by pressure or a blow
A dent in the side of a car.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

A shallow notch, cut, or indentation on an edge or a surface
Nicks in the table.
Razor nicks on his chin.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

(Informal) A significant, usually diminishing effect or impression
The loss put a dent in the team's confidence.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

Chiefly British Slang A prison or police station.
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Dent

(Informal) Meaningful progress; headway
At least made a dent in the work.
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Nick

(Printing) A groove down the side of a piece of type used to ensure that it is correctly placed.
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Dent

See tooth.
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Nick

To cut a nick or notch in.
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Dent

To make a dent in.
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Nick

To cut into and wound slightly
A sliver of glass nicked my hand.
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Dent

To become dented
A fender that dents easily.
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Nick

To cut short; check
Nicked an impulse to flee.
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Dent

A shallow deformation in the surface of an object, produced by an impact.
The crash produced a dent in the left side of the car.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

(Slang) To cheat, especially by overcharging.
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Dent

(figurative) A minor impact or effect made upon something.
To make a dent
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Nick

To steal.
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Dent

A type of maize/corn with a relatively soft outer hull, and a soft type of starch that shrinks at maturity to leave an indentation in the surface of the kernel.
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Nick

To arrest.
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Dent

A sudden negative change, such as loss, damage, weakening, consumption or diminution, especially one produced by an external force, event or action
That purchase put a bit of a dent in my wallet.
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Nick

A small cut in a surface.
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Dent

(engineering) A tooth, as of a card, a gear wheel, etc.
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Nick

A particular place or point considered as marked by a nick; the exact point or critical moment.
In the nick of time
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Dent

(weaving) A slot or a wire in a reed
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Nick

A notch cut crosswise in the shank of a type, to assist a compositor in placing it properly in the stick, and in distribution.
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Dent

(transitive) To impact something, producing a dent.
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Nick

Senses connoting something small.
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Dent

(intransitive) To develop a dent or dents.
Copper is soft and dents easily.
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Nick

(cricket) A small deflection of the ball off the edge of the bat, often going to the wicket-keeper for a catch.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

A stroke; a blow.
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Nick

(genetics) One of the single-stranded DNA segments produced during nick translation.
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Dent

A slight depression, or small notch or hollow, made by a blow or by pressure; an indentation.
A blow that would have made a dent in a pound of butter.
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Nick

The point where the wall of the court meets the floor.
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Dent

A tooth, as of a card, a gear wheel, etc.
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Nick

Often in the expressions in bad nick and in good nick: condition, state.
The car I bought was cheap and in good nick.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

To make a dent upon; to indent.
The houses dented with bullets.
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Nick

A police station or prison.
He was arrested and taken down to Sun Hill nick [police station] to be charged.
He’s just been released from Shadwell nick [prison] after doing ten years for attempted murder.
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Dent

An appreciable consequence (especially a lessening);
It made a dent in my bank account
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Nick

(Internet) nickname
A user’s reserved nick on an IRC network
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Dent

A depression scratched or carved into a surface
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

(archaic) A nix or water]] spirit.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

An impression in a surface (as made by a blow)
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

(transitive) To make a nick or notch in; to cut or scratch in a minor way.
I nicked myself while I was shaving.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

Make a depression into;
The bicycle dented my car
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

(transitive) To make ragged or uneven, as by cutting nicks or notches in; to deface, to mar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Dent

A sunken or hollow area on a typically smooth surface.
There was a small dent on the surface of the wooden table.
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Nov 20, 2023

Nick

To make a crosscut or cuts on the underside of (the tail of a horse, in order to make the animal carry it higher).
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Nick

To fit into or suit, as by a correspondence of nicks; to tally with.
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Nick

To hit at, or in, the nick; to touch rightly; to strike at the precise point or time.
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Nick

To hit the ball with the edge of the bat and produce a fine deflection.
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Nick

To throw or turn up (a number when playing dice); to hit upon.
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Nick

To make a cut at the side of the face.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To steal.
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Nick

To arrest.
The police nicked him climbing over the fence of the house he’d broken into.
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Nick

To give or call (someone) by a nickname; to style.
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Nick

An evil spirit of the waters.
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Nick

A notch cut into something
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Nick

A broken or indented place in any edge or surface; as, nicks in a china plate; a nick in the table top.
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Nick

A particular point or place considered as marked by a nick; the exact point or critical moment.
To cut it off in the very nick.
This nick of time is the critical occasion for the gaining of a point.
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Nick

To make a nick or nicks in; to notch; to keep count of or upon by nicks; as, to nick a stick, tally, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To mar; to deface; to make ragged, as by cutting nicks or notches in; to create a nick{2} in, deliberately or accidentally; as, to nick the rim of a teacup.
And thence proceed to nicking sashes.
The itch of his affection should not thenHave nicked his captainship.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To suit or fit into, as by a correspondence of nicks; to tally with.
Words nicking and resembling one another are applicable to different significations.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To hit at, or in, the nick; to touch rightly; to strike at the precise point or time.
The just season of doing things must be nicked, and all accidents improved.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To make a cross cut or cuts on the under side of (the tail of a horse, in order to make him carry it higher).
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

To nickname; to style.
For Warbeck, as you nick him, came to me.
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

An impression in a surface (as made by a blow)
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Nick

A small cut
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Nick

Cut slightly, with a razor;
The barber's knife nicked his cheek
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Nick

Cut a nick into
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Nick

Divide or reset the tail muscles of;
Nick horses
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Oct 19, 2023

Nick

Mate successfully; of livestock
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Nick

To make a small cut or scratch in something.
She nicked her finger while chopping vegetables.
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Nov 20, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can a Dent occur on any surface?

Dents commonly occur on metal or hard plastic surfaces.
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Nov 21, 2023

How do Dents affect an object's value?

Dents can lower an object's aesthetic and resale value.
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Nov 21, 2023

What is a Dent?

A dent is a small hollow mark in a hard surface caused by pressure or impact.
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Nov 21, 2023

Is a Nick always intentional?

No, nicks can occur accidentally, like when shaving.
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Nov 21, 2023

What does Nick mean?

Nick refers to a small cut or notch in a surface.
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Nov 21, 2023

Are Nicks easy to repair?

It depends on the depth and location, but small nicks are often easily repairable.
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Nov 21, 2023

What causes a Dent?

Dents are often caused by collisions or heavy pressure.
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Nov 21, 2023

What materials are most susceptible to Nicks?

Materials like wood, metal, and plastic are prone to nicks.
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Nov 21, 2023

Do Dents always need professional repair?

Not always; some minor dents can be fixed with DIY methods.
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Nov 21, 2023

How do Nicks affect tools' efficiency?

Nicks can impair the precision or sharpness of tools like blades.
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Nov 21, 2023

Are Nicks common in everyday items?

Yes, everyday use often leads to nicks in various items.
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Nov 21, 2023

Can Dents occur naturally?

Rarely; they are usually caused by external force or pressure.
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Nov 21, 2023

Is a Dent considered damage?

Yes, a dent is typically seen as minor damage to a surface.
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Nov 21, 2023

Can Nicks lead to further damage?

Yes, especially if they expose materials to corrosion or wear.
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Nov 21, 2023

Do Dents affect structural integrity?

In some cases, like with vehicles, they can affect structural integrity.
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Nov 21, 2023

Is a Nick always visible?

Most nicks are visible but may be small or hidden depending on the object.
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Nov 21, 2023

How can Dents be minimized in shipping?

Using protective packaging and careful handling minimizes dents.
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Nov 21, 2023

What is the most common cause of Nicks in furniture?

Daily wear and tear, such as bumps and scrapes, commonly cause nicks in furniture.
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Nov 21, 2023

Can Dents be prevented?

Careful handling and protective coverings can reduce the risk of dents.
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Nov 21, 2023

What are common ways to fix Nicks?

Filling, sanding, or sharpening are common ways to repair nicks.
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Nov 21, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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