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clam

1
[ klam ]
/ klæm /
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See synonyms for: clam / clammed / clamming on Thesaurus.com

noun

any of various bivalve mollusks, especially certain edible species.Compare quahog, soft-shell clam.
Informal. a secretive or silent person.
Slang. a dollar or the sum of a dollar: I only made 60 clams a week.

verb (used without object), clammed, clam·ming.

to gather or dig clams.

Verb Phrases

clam up, Slang. to refuse to talk or reply; refrain from talking or divulging information: The teacher asked who had thrown the eraser, but the class clammed up.

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Origin of clam

1
1585–95; short for clam-shell, i.e., bivalve with a shell that clamps. See clam2, shell

OTHER WORDS FROM clam

clamlike, adjectiveclammer, noun

Definition for clam (2 of 2)

clam2
[ klam ]
/ klæm /

noun

British Dialect. clamp (defs. 1-3).
Machinery. (formerly) pincers.

Origin of clam

2
before 1000; Middle English; Old English, derivative of clamm fetter, grasp; cognate with German Klamm fetter; akin to clamp
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for clam

British Dictionary definitions for clam (1 of 2)

clam1
/ (klæm) /

noun

any of various burrowing bivalve molluscs of the genera Mya, Venus, etc. Many species, such as the quahog and soft-shell clam, are edible and Tridacna gigas is the largest known bivalve, nearly 1.5 metres long
the edible flesh of such a mollusc
informal a reticent person

verb clams, clamming or clammed

(intr) mainly US to gather clams
See also clam up

Word Origin for clam

C16: from earlier clamshell, that is, shell that clamps; related to Old English clamm fetter, Old High German klamma constriction; see clamp 1

British Dictionary definitions for clam (2 of 2)

clam2
/ (klæm) /

verb clams, clamming or clammed

a variant of clem
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

Idioms and Phrases with clam

clam

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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