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clammy

[klam-ee]
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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

Related Words

closedankmoistpastyslimysoggystickysweatywetdrizzlymucidmucous

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

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

adj.

"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