- 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
Examples from the Web for clamlike
Historical Examples of clamlike
In nearby deposits are found still other fossils including ferns preserved in delicate detail and clamlike shells.Ancient Landscapes of the Grand Canyon Region
Edwin Dinwiddie McKee
- 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)