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verb (used with object), crammed, cram·ming.
  1. to fill (something) by force with more than it can easily hold.
  2. to force or stuff (usually followed by into, down, etc.).
  3. to fill with or as with an excessive amount of food; overfeed.
  4. Informal.
    1. to prepare (a person), as for an examination, by having him or her memorize information within a short period of time.
    2. to acquire knowledge of (a subject) by so preparing oneself.
  5. Archaic. to tell lies to.
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verb (used without object), crammed, cram·ming.
  1. to eat greedily or to excess.
  2. to study for an examination by memorizing facts at the last minute.
  3. to press or force accommodation in a room, vehicle, etc., beyond normal or comfortable capacity; crowd; jam: The whole team crammed into the bus.
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  1. Informal. the act of cramming for an examination.
  2. a crammed state.
  3. a dense crowd; throng.
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Origin of cram

before 1000; Middle English crammen, Old English crammian to stuff, akin to crimman to put in
Related formscram·ming·ly, adverbwell-crammed, adjective


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  1. Ralph Adams,1863–1942, U.S. architect and writer.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

load, wedge, shove, crowd, ram, stuff, squeeze, pack, overcrowd, force, choke, thrust, guzzle, overeat, compact, slop, crush, charge, jam, satiate

Examples from the Web for cram

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So she tried to cram me—that it was Glenwilliam persuaded her against me.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • I houp ye're no gaen to cram stuff like that into the heeds o' the twa laddies.

    David Elginbrod

    George MacDonald

  • At that time it was the custom to cram children rather unmercifully.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

  • So was every person who possibly could cram through the doors of the big room.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

  • I'm going driving, sir, with Captain Cram's own team and road-wagon.

    Waring's Peril

    Charles King

British Dictionary definitions for cram


verb crams, cramming or crammed
  1. (tr) to force (people, material, etc) into (a room, container, etc) with more than it can hold; stuff
  2. to eat or cause to eat more than necessary
  3. informal to study or cause to study (facts, etc), esp for an examination, by hastily memorizing
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  1. the act or condition of cramming
  2. a crush
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Word Origin

Old English crammian; related to Old Norse kremja to press


  1. Steve. born 1960, English middle-distance runner: European 1500 m champion (1981, 1986); world 1500 m champion (1983)
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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

Word Origin and History for cram


Old English crammian "press something into something else," from Proto-Germanic *kram-/*krem- (cf. Old High German krimman "to press, pinch," Old Norse kremja "to squeeze, pinch"), from PIE root *ger- "to gather" (cf. Sanskrit gramah "heap, troop," Old Church Slavonic gramota "heap," Latin gremium "bosom, lap"). Meaning "study intensely for an exam" originally was British student slang first recorded 1803. Related: Crammed; cramming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper