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noun Slang.
  1. a person's leg, especially an attractive female leg.

Origin of gam1

1775–85; probably < Polari < Italian gamba leg; see jamb1


  1. a herd or school of whales.
  2. Eastern New England, Nautical. a social meeting, visit, or the like, as between whaling vessels at sea.
verb (used without object), gammed, gam·ming.
  1. (of whales) to assemble into a herd or school.
  2. Nautical. (of the officers and crews of two whaling vessels) to visit or converse with one another for social purposes.
  3. Eastern New England. to participate in a gam or social visit.

Origin of gam2

1840–50, Americanism; perhaps dialectal variant of game1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gams


  1. a school of whales
  2. nautical an informal visit between crew members of whalers
  3. NZ a flock of large sea birds
verb gams, gamming or gammed
  1. (intr) (of whales) to form a school
  2. nautical (of members of the crews of whalers) to visit (each other) informally
  3. (tr) US to visit or exchange visits with

Word Origin

C19: perhaps dialect variant of game 1


  1. slang a leg, esp a woman's shapely leg

Word Origin

C18: probably from Old Northern French gambe or Lingua Franca gambe; see jamb
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

Word Origin and History for gams


"legs," 1781, low slang, probably the same word as gamb "leg of an animal on a coat of arms" (1727) and ultimately from Middle English gamb "leg," from Old North French (see gammon). Now, in American English slang, especially with reference to well-formed legs of pretty women, but this was not the original sense.



"a leg," 1781, see gams.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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