verb (used with object)

to fasten with or fix in a clamp.

Verb Phrases

clamp down, to become more strict: There were too many tax loopholes, so the government clamped down.
clamp down on, to impose or increase controls on.

Origin of clamp

1350–1400; Middle English (noun) < Middle Dutch clampe clamp, cleat; cognate with Middle Low German klampe
Related formsun·clamped, adjective

Synonyms for clamp Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for clamping

impose, clench, grip, snap, nipper, lock, vice, catch, bracket, press, hold, clasp, fix, clinch, brace, secure

Examples from the Web for clamping

Contemporary Examples of clamping

Historical Examples of clamping

  • Or I poked people in the back with the frames while I was clamping them.

    Working With the Working Woman

    Cornelia Stratton Parker

  • There was a mouse swelling above his eye, the lids were clamping.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • D the important features of such a method of clamping will be understood.

    Toy Craft

    Leon H. Baxter

  • The clamping device for the slide is made of two bars, 1 in.

  • "With difficulty," Petra said, taking another step and clamping her teeth.

    Captives of the Flame

    Samuel R. Delany

British Dictionary definitions for clamping




a mechanical device with movable jaws with which an object can be secured to a bench or with which two objects may be secured together
See also wheel clamp
a means by which a fixed joint may be strengthened
nautical a horizontal beam fastened to the ribs for supporting the deck beams in a wooden vessel

verb (tr)

to fix or fasten with or as if with a clamp
to immobilize (a car) by means of a wheel clamp
to inflict or impose forcefullythey clamped a curfew on the town

Word Origin for clamp

C14: from Dutch or Low German klamp; related to Old English clamm bond, fetter, Old Norse kleppr lump




a mound formed out of a harvested root crop, covered with straw and earth to protect it from winter weather
a pile of bricks ready for processing in a furnace


(tr) to enclose (a harvested root crop) in a mound

Word Origin for clamp

C16: from Middle Dutch klamp heap; related to clump
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 clamping



device for fastening, c.1300, probably from clamb, perhaps originally past tense of climb (v.), or from Middle Dutch clampe (Dutch klamp), from West Germanic *klamp- "clamp, cleat;" cf. Middle Low German klampe "clasp, hook," Old High German klampfer "clip, clamp;" also probably related to Middle Dutch klamme "a clamp, hook, grapple," Danish klamme "a clamp, cramp," Old English clamm "fetter;" see clam (n.).



"to fasten with a clamp," 1670s, from clamp (n.). Related: Clamped; clamping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

clamping in Medicine




An instrument for the compression or grasping of a structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.