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[klam-shel] /ˈklæmˌʃɛl/
the shell of a clam.
an object that has two hinged parts and that opens and closes like a clamshell, as a laptop computer or a box with a cover joined on one side:
This clamshell is lightweight, convenient, and as powerful as my desktop computer.
  1. Also called clamshell bucket. a dredging bucket opening at the bottom, consisting of two similar pieces hinged together at the top.
  2. a machine equipped with such a bucket.
Printing. a platen press.
of or noting an object that opens and closes like a clamshell: a clamshell phone;
clamshell packaging.
Origin of clamshell
1490-1500; earlier clam-shell; see clam1, shell Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clam shells
Historical Examples
  • Wash the clam shells thoroughly with a brush and clear water.

    The Century Cook Book Mary Ronald
  • Doctor Barnes helped me gather up the clam shells and the plates.

    Where There's A Will Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He could set up ten clam shells at ten paces and break all in ten shots.

    Rolf In The Woods Ernest Thompson Seton
  • Mix well and then take the clam shells and scrub them clean.

    Mrs. Wilson's Cook Book Mary A. Wilson
  • Each of the players is provided with an equal number of clam shells; the players then pair off in twos for the combat.

  • Wampum and "seawant" as it was also called, were the Indian terms for beads made from clam shells.

    Jersey City and its Historic Sites Harriet Phillips Eaton
  • Philip's only garden tool was a hoe, made of clam shells or of a moose's shoulder-blade fastened to a wooden handle.

    Four American Indians Edson L. Whitney
  • They went up the white gravel path with its neat border of clam shells.

    Boys and Girls of Colonial Days Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  • Crushed stone as we have shown in Chapter IV can be unloaded from boats at a very low cost by means of clam shells.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • There were clam shells piled up with red checkerberries, and caddis worms on the half shell, with spicebush nubbins.

    Woodland Tales Ernest Seton-Thompson
British Dictionary definitions for clam shells


(mainly US) a dredging bucket that is hinged like the shell of a clam
  1. an aircraft cockpit canopy hinged at the front and rear
  2. the hinged door of a cargo aircraft
  3. another name for eyelid (sense 2)
any of a variety of objects hinged like the shell of a clam, such as a container for takeaway food, a portable computer, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for clam shells

clam shells

noun phrase

The mouth and jaws (1830+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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