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Consider a physical system consisting of a body $B$ passing through a medium $M$.
In order for $B$ to move, it needs to push $M$ out of the way to make room for it.
Hence $M$ exerts a force upon $B$ which opposes the motion of $B$.
This force opposing the motion of $B$ is referred to as a damping force.
- 1972: George F. Simmons: Differential Equations ... (previous) ... (next): $\S 3.20$: Vibrations in Mechanical Systems