- to gather or dig clams.
- 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.
Origin of clam1
Origin of clam2
Examples from the Web for clam
Contemporary Examples of clam
You see this a lot when individuals who are accused of something decide to clam up, often under the advice of their attorney.Untruth and Consequences in Ferguson
October 25, 2014
Back in California, Zach finds that people from whom he might learn about the bombing either die, disappear, or clam up.Joseph McElroy’s ‘Cannonball’ Is the Meta Iraq War Novel
July 25, 2013
“The Clam Castle was crowded with taxpayers,” Pete says in typical fashion.Jeffrey Eugenides Hails Donald Antrim’s 'Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World'
June 2, 2012
Sour Cream and Clam Chips Manufacturer: Humpty Dumpty Potato Chip Co.The 44 Most Extreme Super Bowl Snacks
The Daily Beast
February 3, 2010
Historical Examples of clam
Only say he go muchee to clam bake, go fishee and much smokee.
When a person has lickt out the meet of a clam he throws the shell away.
I can sprawl on that seaweed and be as comfortable as a gull on a clam flat.Fair Harbor
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
Azuba's clam fritters were neglected that noon, just as breakfast had been.Cap'n Dan's Daughter
Joseph C. Lincoln
If it hadn't been for you I'd have lost my life and Babbie'd have lost her clam chowder.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
- 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
- (intr) mainly US to gather clams
Word Origin for clam
- a variant of clem
bivalve mollusk, c.1500, in clam-shell, originally Scottish, apparently a particular use from Middle English clam "pincers, vice, clamp" (late 14c.), from Old English clamm "bond, fetter, grip, grasp," from Proto-Germanic *klam- "to press or squeeze together" (cf. Old High German klamma "cramp, fetter, constriction," German Klamm "a constriction"). If this is right then the original reference is to the shell. Clam-chowder attested from 1822. To be happy as a clam is from 1833, but the earliest uses do not elaborate on the notion behind it, unless it be self-containment.
"to dig for clams," 1630s, American English, from clam (n.). Clam up "be quiet" is 1916, American English, but clam was used in this sense as an interjection mid-14c.
In addition to the idiom beginning with clam
- clam up
- happy as the day is long (as a clam)