• synonyms


[ klam-shel ]
/ ˈklæmˌʃɛl /


the shell of a clam.
an object that has two hinged parts and that opens and closes like a clamshell, as a laptop computer or a box with a cover joined on one side: This clamshell is lightweight, convenient, and as powerful as my desktop computer.
  1. Also called clamshell bucket. a dredging bucket opening at the bottom, consisting of two similar pieces hinged together at the top.
  2. a machine equipped with such a bucket.
Printing. a platen press.


of or noting an object that opens and closes like a clamshell: a clamshell phone; clamshell packaging.


The Strangest Winter Olympic EventsRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.

Nearby words

clamp down on, clamp forceps, clamp-down, clampdown, clamper, clamshell, clamshell door, clamworm, clan, clancy, clandestine

Origin of clamshell

1490–1500; earlier clam-shell; see clam1, shell Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for clam shells


/ (ˈklæmˌʃɛl) /


mainly US a dredging bucket that is hinged like the shell of a clam
  1. an aircraft cockpit canopy hinged at the front and rear
  2. the hinged door of a cargo aircraft
  3. another name for eyelid (def. 2)
any of a variety of objects hinged like the shell of a clam, such as a container for takeaway food, a portable computer, etc
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