Definition of clam in English:

clam

Line breaks: clam
Pronunciation: /klam
 
/

noun

  • 1A marine bivalve mollusc with shells of equal size.
    • Subclass Heterodonta: several families and numerous species, including the edible North American hardshell clam (see quahog) and softshell 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 molluscs, e.g. a scallop.
  • 2US informal A dollar.
    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?

verb (clams, clamming, clammed)

[no object] Back to top  
  • 1chiefly North American Dig for or collect clams: (as noun clamming) November is 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: as soon as I ask if any of this can go on the record, he clams up
    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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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
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elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody