Definition of clam in English:

clam

Syllabification: clam
Pronunciation: /klam
 
/

noun

1A marine bivalve mollusk with shells of equal size.
  • Subclass Heterodonta: several families and numerous species, including the edible North American hard-shell clam (see quahog) and soft-shell clam . See also giant clam
More example sentences
  • Their tricuspid teeth (three sharp points per tooth) are especially adapted to feed on organisms with hard shells such as clams, snails, crabs and shrimp.
  • One tunnel was five and a half inches long, made by a clam whose shell measured less than two-tenths of an inch - a new record, relative to body size.
  • The Castle Eden is an extremely scenic old steamship, lying in 33m on a clean bottom of mussel shells, clams and coarse gravel.
1.1 informal Any of a number of edible bivalve mollusks, e.g., a scallop.
2US informal A dollar: all I got for the job was 50 lousy clams
More example sentences
  • But the Pittsburgh Pens weren't about to shell out 1,000 clams for nothing.
  • While that alone is reason enough to get me and most of my favorite people to shell out eight clams, I understand we're in the minority.
  • But are you willing to shell out the extra clams?
3 informal A shy or withdrawn person.

verb (clams, clamming, clammed)

[no object] Back to top  
1chiefly North American Dig for or collect clams: (as noun clamming) it was one of the worst times for clamming
More example sentences
  • On Sunday when he went clamming with Dan, he was debating with himself about the future, knowing that he wanted to keep going as a firefighter a bit longer, while his family wanted him to retire.
  • I was born and raised in this state, clammed in its waters, went to school here, married a native New Yorker.
  • Before clamming, check regulations for your destination on the California Department of Fish and Game website, www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/index.html (laws vary according to clam species and location).
2 (clam up) informal Abruptly stop talking, either for fear of revealing a secret or from shyness.
More example sentences
  • When he's around people he doesn't know he clams up completely and just stops talking.
  • This was a problem, because around my crushes I clammed up and became quieter and clumsier than ever.
  • The plastic surgeon clams up if questioned about his patients.

Origin

early 16th century: apparently from earlier clam 'a clamp', from Old English clam, clamm 'a bond or bondage', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch klemme, German Klemme, also to clamp1.

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