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The damping effect in the nanoscale mechanical beam resonators operated under ambient conditions was studied. Experimental measurement of the viscous air damping in the nanowire cantilever resonators was carried out using the electric-field-induced resonance method; and a theoretical model, which accounts for the effects of dimension and material property of the nanowires and the air viscosity of the environment, was developed for describing the mechanical resonance and damping. The study showed that the damping effect in the nanoscale beam resonators operated in air could be as high as that in the microscale resonators operated in liquids, and scaled with the geometric dimension of the studied nanowire cantilevers.