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2017 Word of the Year

clem

[klem] /klɛm/
verb (used with or without object), clemmed, clemming. British Dialect.
1.
to starve.
Origin of clem
1530-1540
1530-40; akin to Middle English forclemmed (past participle) pinched with hunger, Old English beclemman to fetter
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clemmed
Historical Examples
  • But I can't get there; I'm most clemmed with hunger and drought.

    The Water-Babies Charles Kingsley
  • Why he'd a clemmed to death, if th' Union had na helped him in his pinch.

    North and South Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • From us—us that he has starved and clemmed this last two months!

    A Safety Match

    Ian Hay
  • In Yorkshire, "clemmed" means "starved," and "starved" means "perished with cold."

  • There beant nowheres such a good lad as our Reuben; and to be clemmed to death, and froze!

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • When North v. South "clemmed" many a mouth, what patient, patriot spirit, O!

  • They's never be clemmed at ir heawse, as aw ha' si'n folk clemmed i' my time—never, whol aw've a fist a th' end o' my arm!

    Lancashire Sketches

    Edwin Waugh
British Dictionary definitions for clemmed

clem

/klɛm/
verb clems, clemming, clemmed, clams, clamming, clammed
1.
(when transitive, usually passive) (English, dialect) to be hungry or cause to be hungry
Word Origin
C16: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch, German klemmen to pinch, cramp; compare Old English beclemman to shut in
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 clemmed

clem

noun

A fight between show people and the local citizenry: It'd start a clem, with me in the middle

verb

To disperse rioting customers at a circus or carnival (1920s+ Circus & carnival)

Clem

interjection

A cry used by circus people to rally forces in a fight with townspeople

noun

  1. A small-town resident; rural person, esp one who is easily duped
  2. An inhabitant of the place where the circus is playing (1920s+ Circus)
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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