clam

1 of 3

noun (1)

clam

2 of 3

noun (2)

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

Illustration of clam

Illustration of clam
  • a incurrent orifice
  • b siphon
  • c excurrent orifice
  • d mantle
  • e shell
  • f foot

clam

3 of 3

verb

clammed; clamming

intransitive verb

: to gather clams especially by digging
clammer noun

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1636, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near clam

Cite this Entry

“Clam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clam. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

clam 1 of 2

noun

1
: any of numerous edible marine mollusks that have two hinged shells and live in sand or mud
2
: a freshwater mussel

clam

2 of 2

verb

clammed; clamming
: to dig or gather clams

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