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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-shell
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • She watched him while he tried to break a clam-shell between the two rocks.

    Claire Leslie Burton Blades
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • With my clam-shell I cut the manilla warp from the anchor, and the latter lay before me under my fixed gaze.

    Perseverance Island

    Douglas Frazar
  • Another remarkable cave in Staffa is 'clam-shell Cave,' which is of immense size.

  • Some of these are of the clam-shell type, some employ the scoop and lever, others an endless series of buckets.

  • He had no better implement with which to intrench himself in the land than a clam-shell.

  • Then I saw that the two halves of the clam-shell bucket were slightly open, just wide enough to let me squeeze in.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
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
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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
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