1. Machinery. a disk or cylinder having an irregular form such that its motion, usually rotary, gives to a part or parts in contact with it a specific rocking or reciprocating motion.
  2. Automotive Slang. camshaft.
verb (used with object), cammed, cam·ming.
  1. to provide (a machine part or mechanism) with a cam or cams.

Origin of cam

< Dutch or Low German kam, kamm. See comb1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for camming


  1. a slider or roller attached to a rotating shaft to give a particular type of reciprocating motion to a part in contact with its profile

Word Origin for cam

C18: from Dutch kam comb


  1. a river in E England, in Cambridgeshire, flowing through Cambridge to the River Ouse. Length: about 64 km (40 miles)


abbreviation for
  1. complementary and alternative medicine
  2. computer-aided manufacture
  3. botany crassulacean acid metabolism: a form of photosynthesis, first described in crassulaceous plants, in which carbon dioxide is taken up only at night
  4. Cameroon (international car registration)
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 camming



abbreviation of camera, by 1990.



"a projecting part of a rotating machinery," 1777, from Dutch cam "cog of a wheel," originally "comb;" cognate of English comb (n.). This might have combined with English camber "having a slight arch;" or the whole thing could be from camber.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper