• synonyms


  1. the shell of a clam.
  2. 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.
  3. Machinery.
    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.
  4. Printing. a platen press.
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  1. of or noting an object that opens and closes like a clamshell: a clamshell phone; clamshell packaging.
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Origin of clamshell

1490–1500; earlier clam-shell; see clam1, shell
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clamshell

Historical Examples

  • But sech is his awe of Enright, he never dar's opens his clamshell.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • Maybe she struck the water and scaled along like a clamshell.

    The Rover Boys in the Air

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • He was eyeing the clamshell and looking more and more uneasy.

  • So he hunted a clamshell, a double one, Tish requested, and brought it into camp.

  • He had no better implement with which to intrench himself in the land than a clamshell.

    Excursions and Poems

    Henry David Thoreau

British Dictionary definitions for clamshell


  1. mainly US a dredging bucket that is hinged like the shell of a clam
  2. aeronautics
    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)
  3. any of a variety of objects hinged like the shell of a clam, such as a container for takeaway food, a portable computer, etc
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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