\ ˈklam How to pronounce clam (audio) \

Definition of clam

 (Entry 1 of 3)


noun (2), often attributive

Definition of clam (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : any of numerous edible marine bivalve mollusks living in sand or mud
b : a freshwater mussel
2 : a stolid or closemouthed person
4 informal : dollar sense 3


clammed; clamming

Definition of clam (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to gather clams especially by digging

Illustration of clam

Illustration of clam

Noun (2)

clam 1a: a incurrent orifice, b siphon, c excurrent orifice, d mantle, e shell, f foot

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from clam


clammer \ ˈkla-​mər How to pronounce clammer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for clam

Synonyms: Noun (2)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

First Known Use of clam

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1636, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clam

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English clamm bond, fetter; akin to Old High German klamma constriction and perhaps to Latin glomus ball

Noun (2)

clam entry 1; from the clamping action of the shells

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about clam

Time Traveler for clam

Time Traveler

The first known use of clam was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for clam

Cite this Entry

“Clam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clam. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for clam


\ ˈklam How to pronounce clam (audio) \

Kids Definition of clam

: a shellfish that lives in sand or mud and has a soft body surrounded by a hinged shell with two parts and that is often eaten as food

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on clam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clam

Spanish Central: Translation of clam

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clam

Comments on clam

What made you want to look up clam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!