Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for clam-shell
Historical Examples
  • The lamps were made of soapstone and in shape much resembled a clam-shell, being about eight inches in diameter.

  • The flies were the Philistines, and I took a clam-shell for the jaw-bone; it did just as well.

    Captain January Laura E. Richards
  • He stretched out his hand towards the clam-shell which had contained his stock of water, but it was empty.

    The Rival Crusoes W.H.G. Kingston
  • She watched him while he tried to break a clam-shell between the two rocks.

    Claire Leslie Burton Blades
  • Rabbit lifted the clam-shell and poor Earth-Worm was quickly gobbled up by Duck.

    Canadian Fairy Tales Cyrus Macmillan
  • Though he drank and drank again from the water which he had brought in the clam-shell, no quantity seemed to assuage his thirst.

    The Rival Crusoes W.H.G. Kingston
  • After a moment he mechanically spat on a clam-shell and requested Davy to 'sic' it.

    In Search of the Unknown Robert W. Chambers
  • The pebbles for the concrete were delivered by contract and were unloaded from scows by clam-shell bucket into a hopper.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • The same objections apply with greater force to the clam-shell form of dredge.

    The A B C of Mining Charles A. Bramble
  • Another remarkable cave in Staffa is 'clam-shell Cave,' which is of immense size.

British Dictionary definitions for clam-shell


(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for clam-shell

c.1500; see clam (n.) + shell (n.). As "hinged iron box or bucket used in dredging," from 1877.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for clamshell

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for clam

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for clam-shell