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  1. a male sheep.
  2. (initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Aries.
  3. any of various devices for battering, crushing, driving, or forcing something, especially a battering ram.
  4. (formerly) a heavy beak or spur projecting from the bow of a warship for penetrating the hull of an enemy's ship.
  5. (formerly) a warship so equipped, especially one used primarily for ramming enemy vessels.
  6. the heavy weight that strikes the blow in a pile driver or the like.
  7. a piston, as on a hydraulic press.
  8. a reciprocating part of certain machine tools, as the toolholder of a slotter or shaper.
  9. hydraulic ram.
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verb (used with object), rammed, ram·ming.
  1. to drive or force by heavy blows.
  2. to strike with great force; dash violently against: The car went out of control and rammed the truck.
  3. to cram; stuff: They rammed the gag in his mouth.
  4. to push firmly: to ram a bill through the Senate.
  5. to force (a charge) into a firearm, as with a ramrod.
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Origin of ram1

before 900; Middle English: male sheep, machine for ramming, Old English ram(m); cognate with Dutch, Low German ram, German Ramme; (v.) Middle English rammen, derivative of the noun; compare Old High German rammen
Related formsram·like, adjectiveun·rammed, adjective


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  1. a confidence man's associate who acts as a decoy; confederate; shill.
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Origin of ram2

1940–45; origin obscure; British criminal argot ramp swindle (earlier, as v.: snatch, tear) is a phonetically implausible source


  1. random-access memory; computer memory available to the user for creating, loading, or running programs and for the temporary storage and manipulation of data, in which time of access to each item is independent of the storage sequence. As a storage medium, RAM is volatile, so its contents are lost when the power fails or is turned off.
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Compare ROM.

Origin of RAM

r(andom)-a(ccess) m(emory)
Can be confusedRAM ROM



  1. Royal Academy of Music.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ram


  1. an uncastrated adult sheep
  2. a piston or moving plate, esp one driven hydraulically or pneumatically
  3. the falling weight of a pile driver or similar device
  4. short for battering ram
  5. Also called: rostrum, beak a pointed projection in the stem of an ancient warship for puncturing the hull of enemy ships
  6. a warship equipped with a ram
  7. slang a sexually active man
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verb rams, ramming or rammed
  1. (tr usually foll by into) to force or drive, as by heavy blowsto ram a post into the ground
  2. (of a moving object) to crash with force (against another object) or (of two moving objects) to collide in this waythe ships rammed the enemy
  3. (tr ; often foll by in or down) to stuff or cram (something into a hole, etc)
  4. (tr ; foll by onto, against etc) to thrust violentlyhe rammed the books onto the desk
  5. (tr) to present (an idea, argument, etc) forcefully or aggressively (esp in the phrase ram (something) down someone's throat)
  6. (tr) to drive (a charge) into a firearm
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Derived Formsrammer, noun

Word Origin

Old English ramm; related to Old High German ram ram, Old Norse ramr fierce, rimma to fight


  1. the Ram the constellation Aries, the first sign of the zodiac
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n acronym for computing
  1. random access memory: semiconductor memory in which all storage locations can be rapidly accessed in the same amount of time. It forms the main memory of a computer, used by applications to perform tasks while the device is operating
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abbreviation for
  1. Royal Academy of Music
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abbreviation for
  1. relative atomic mass
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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 ram


Old English ramm "male sheep," also "battering ram" and the zodiac sign; earlier rom "male sheep," a West Germanic word (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German ram), of unknown origin. Perhaps [Klein] connected with Old Norse rammr "strong," Old Church Slavonic ramenu "impetuous, violent."

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1957, acronym for random access memory (computerese).

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"to beat with a heavy implement," c.1300, from ram (n.). Related: Rammed; ramming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ram in Science


  1. Short for random access memory. The main memory of a computer, in which data can be stored or retrieved from all locations at the same (usually very high) speed. See also dynamic RAM static RAM.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

ram in Culture


Acronym for random access memory, which is a type of memory in which a reader can go to a specific item without having to start at the beginning. Random access memories can often be altered once an item is found. (See computer memory and magnetic memory storage; compare ROM.)

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hard drives on a computer are an example of RAM.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.