1. Damage, harm, or loss: took a long leave of absence without detriment to her career.
2. Something that causes damage, harm, or loss: Smoking is a detriment to good health. See Synonyms at disadvantage.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin dētrīmentum, from dētrītus, past participle of dēterere, to lessen, wear down : dē-, de- + terere, to rub; see terə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.