definitions
  • synonyms

clam

1
[ klam ]
/ klæm /
|
SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR clam 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.

RELATED WORDS

mollusk, littleneck, quahog, cherrystone

Nearby words

clairseach, clairton, clairvoyance, clairvoyant, clairvoyantly, clam, clam diggers, clam up, clam-diggers, clam-flat, clam-shell

Origin of clam

1
1585–95; short for clam-shell, i.e., bivalve with a shell that clamps. See clam2, shell
Related formsclam·like, adjectiveclam·mer, noun

Definition for clam (2 of 2)

clam

2
[ 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for clam

British Dictionary definitions for clam (1 of 2)

clam

1
/ (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)

clam

2
/ (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


In addition to the idiom beginning with clam

  • clam up

also see:

  • happy as the day is long (as a clam)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.