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See more synonyms for clammy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, clam·mi·er, clam·mi·est.
  1. covered with a cold, sticky moisture; cold and damp: clammy hands.
  2. sickly; morbid: She had a clammy feeling that something was wrong at home.
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Origin of clammy

1350–1400; Middle English, equivalent to Middle English clam sticky, cold and damp + -y -y1
Related formsclam·mi·ly, adverbclam·mi·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for clammy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • If too cold, it will scarcely rise at all, and will be white and clammy.

  • Until you have shivered in clammy cotton, you cannot realize the importance of this point.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Her own hands were cold and moist, and when she touched the child she thought its skin was clammy.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • The engineer winced as Solinski enfolded his hand in a clammy grip.

    The End of Time

    Wallace West

  • He clenched his hands together; they were clammy with sweat, and his brain was in a whirl.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

British Dictionary definitions for clammy


adjective -mier or -miest
  1. unpleasantly sticky; moistclammy hands
  2. (of the weather, atmosphere, etc) close; humid
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Derived Formsclammily, adverbclamminess, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old English clǣman to smear; related to Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleimen
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

Word Origin and History for clammy


"soft and sticky," late 14c., probably from Middle English clam "viscous, sticky, muddy" (mid-14c.), from Old English clæm "mud, sticky clay," from Proto-Germanic *klaimaz "clay" (cf. Flemish klammig, Low German klamig "sticky, damp," Old English clæman "to smear, plaster;" cf. clay). With -y (2). Related: Clammily; clamminess.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper