[ pahm ]
See synonyms for: palmpalmedpalmingpalms on

  1. the part of the inner surface of the hand that extends from the wrist to the bases of the fingers.

  2. the corresponding part of the forefoot of an animal.

  1. the part of a glove covering this part of the hand.

  2. Also called sailmaker's palm . a stiff rawhide or metal shield worn over this part of the hand by sailmakers to serve as a thimble.

  3. a linear measure of from 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters), based on the breadth of the hand.

  4. a linear measure of from 7 to 10 inches (17.5 to 25 centimeters), based on the length of the hand.

  5. the flat, expanded part of the horn or antler of a deer.

  6. a flat, widened part at the end of an armlike projection.

  7. Nautical.

    • the blade of an oar.

    • the inner face of an anchor fluke.

    • (loosely) an anchor fluke.

  8. a flat-topped bearing member at the head of a stanchion.

verb (used with object)
  1. to conceal in the palm, as in cheating at cards or dice or in juggling.

  2. to pick up stealthily.

  1. to hold in the hand.

  2. to impose (something) fraudulently (usually followed by on or upon): to palm stolen jewels on someone.

  3. to touch or stroke with the palm or hand.

  4. to shake hands with.

  5. Basketball. to grip (the ball) momentarily with the hand in the act of dribbling.

Verb Phrases
  1. palm off, to dispose of by deception, trickery, or fraud; substitute (something) with intent to deceive: Someone had palmed off a forgery on the museum officials.

Idioms about palm

  1. grease someone's palm, to bribe: Before any work could begin, it was necessary to grease the superintendent's palm.: Also cross someone's palm .

Origin of palm

First recorded in 1300–50; from Latin palma (cognate with Old English folm “hand”); replacing Middle English paume, from Middle French, from Latin palma

Words Nearby palm

Other definitions for palm (2 of 2)

[ pahm ]

  1. any of numerous plants of the family Palmae, most species being tall, unbranched trees surmounted by a crown of large pinnate or palmately cleft leaves.: Compare palm family.

  2. any of various other trees or shrubs that resemble this.

  1. a leaf or branch of such a tree, especially as formerly borne to signify victory or as used on festive occasions.

  2. a representation of such a leaf or branch, as on a military or other decoration of honor, usually indicating a second award of the decoration.

  3. the reward of honor due to a victor: In oratory she yields the palm to no one.

  4. victory; triumph; success: He carried off the palm by sheer perseverance.

Origin of palm

First recorded before 900; Middle English palm(e), paume, pame, Old English palm, palma, from Latin palma “palm tree,” special use of palma palm1

Other words from palm

  • palmlike, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use palm in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for palm (1 of 2)


/ (pɑːm) /

  1. the inner part of the hand from the wrist to the base of the fingers: Related adjectives: thenar, volar

  2. a corresponding part in animals, esp apes and monkeys

  1. a linear measure based on the breadth or length of a hand, equal to three to four inches or seven to ten inches respectively

  2. the part of a glove that covers the palm

  3. a hard leather shield worn by sailmakers to protect the palm of the hand

    • the side of the blade of an oar that faces away from the direction of a boat's movement during a stroke

    • the face of the fluke of an anchor

  4. a flattened or expanded part of the antlers of certain deer

  5. in the palm of one's hand at one's mercy or command

  1. to conceal in or about the hand, as in sleight-of-hand tricks

  2. to touch or soothe with the palm of the hand

Origin of palm

C14 paume, via Old French from Latin palma; compare Old English folm palm of the hand, Greek palamē

British Dictionary definitions for palm (2 of 2)


/ (pɑːm) /

  1. any treelike plant of the tropical and subtropical monocotyledonous family Arecaceae (formerly Palmae or Palmaceae), usually having a straight unbranched trunk crowned with large pinnate or palmate leaves

  2. a leaf or branch of any of these trees, a symbol of victory, success, etc

  1. merit or victory

  2. an emblem or insignia representing a leaf or branch worn on certain military decorations

Origin of palm

Old English, from Latin palma, from the likeness of its spreading fronds to a hand; see palm 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with palm


In addition to the idiom beginning with palm

  • palm off

also see:

  • cross someone's palm
  • grease someone's palm
  • itchy palm

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.