[ yam ]
/ yæm /


the starchy, tuberous root of any of various climbing vines of the genus Dioscorea, cultivated for food in warm regions.
any of these plants.

Origin of yam

1580–90; compare Gullah nyam, Jamaican English nyaams, Sranan jamsi < sources in one or more West African languages (compare Wolof nyam(nyam), Fulani nyami to eat, Twi εnãm flesh, ànyinam, ayam’kàw-dé kinds of yam; earlier E forms < Portuguese inhame or Spanish (i)ñame

Can be confused

cassava sweet potato yam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for yam

British Dictionary definitions for yam


/ (jæm) /


any of various twining plants of the genus Dioscorea, of tropical and subtropical regions, cultivated for their edible tubers: family Dioscoreaceae
the starchy tuber of any of these plants, which is eaten as a vegetable
Southern US any of certain large varieties of sweet potato
a former Scot name for the (common) potato

Word Origin for yam

C17: from Portuguese inhame, ultimately of West African origin; compare Senegal nyami to eat
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