[ teym ]
See synonyms for: tametamedtamertaming on Thesaurus.com

adjective,tam·er, tam·est.
  1. changed from the wild or savage state; domesticated: a tame bear.

  2. without the savageness or fear of humans normal in wild animals; gentle, fearless, or without shyness, as if domesticated: That lion acts as tame as a house cat.

  1. tractable, docile, or submissive, as a person or the disposition.

  2. lacking in excitement; dull; insipid: a very tame party.

  3. spiritless or pusillanimous.

  4. not to be taken very seriously; without real power or importance; serviceable but harmless: They kept a tame scientist around.

  5. brought into service; rendered useful and manageable; under control, as natural resources or a source of power.

  6. cultivated or improved by cultivation, as a plant or its fruit.

verb (used with object),tamed, tam·ing.
  1. to make tame; domesticate; make tractable.

  2. to deprive of courage, ardor, or zest.

  1. to deprive of interest, excitement, or attractiveness; make dull.

  2. to soften; tone down.

  3. to harness or control; render useful, as a source of power.

  4. to cultivate, as land or plants.

verb (used without object),tamed, tam·ing.
  1. to become tame.

Origin of tame

First recorded before 900; (adjective) Middle English; Old English tam; cognate with Dutch tam, German zahm, Old Norse tamr; (verb) Middle English tamen, derivative of the adjective; replacing Middle English temen “to tame,” Old English temian, derivative of tam; cognate with Old Norse temja, Gothic gatamjan; akin to Latin domāre “to tame”

Other words for tame

Opposites for tame

Other words from tame

  • tame·ly, adverb
  • tame·ness, noun
  • tam·er, noun
  • o·ver·tame, adjective
  • o·ver·tame·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·tame·ness, noun
  • un·tame, adjective
  • un·tame·ly, adverb
  • un·tame·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tame in a sentence

  • Their conversation is certainly tamer and less piquant than that of the American or the French ladies.

    Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
  • I knew then that the worst of it had passed, and though one fierce squall succeeded another, each one was tamer.

  • Everything is snowed under and thae craturs near starved, but trustin' Freckles that complete they are tamer than our chickens.

    Freckles | Gene Stratton-Porter
  • He was evidently growing tamer, for he sat down opposite to me, though he still grasped his weapon.

    Carmen | Prosper Merimee
  • Father talked a good deal to me about Rarey, the great horse-tamer, and it put ideas into my head.

    Beautiful Joe | Marshall Saunders

British Dictionary definitions for tame


/ (teɪm) /

  1. changed by man from a naturally wild state into a tractable, domesticated, or cultivated condition

  2. (of animals) not fearful of human contact

  1. lacking in spirit or initiative; meek or submissive: a tame personality

  2. flat, insipid, or uninspiring: a tame ending to a book

  3. slow-moving: a tame current

  1. to make tame; domesticate

  2. to break the spirit of, subdue, or curb

  1. to tone down, soften, or mitigate

Origin of tame

Old English tam; related to Old Norse tamr, Old High German zam

Derived forms of tame

  • tamable or tameable, adjective
  • tamability, tameability, tamableness or tameableness, noun
  • tameless, adjective
  • tamely, adverb
  • tameness, noun
  • tamer, noun

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