1 of 3

noun (1)


2 of 3

noun (2)

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

Illustration of clam

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


3 of 3


clammed; clamming

intransitive verb

: to gather clams especially by digging
clammer noun

Examples of clam in a Sentence

Noun (2) it must take a whole lot of clams to buy a car like that
Recent Examples on the Web
The total global volume of fish, shrimp, clams and other aquatic animals that are harvested by farming has topped the amount fished in the wild from the world’s waters for the first time ever, the United Nations reported Friday. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 8 June 2024 The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has taken in 500 individual corals and clams in the last six months, said Nate Jaros, senior curator of fishes and invertebrates at the aquarium. Rachel Carlson, NPR, 8 June 2024 His personal history in commercial fishing began with a loss that resonated through the industry: His father was taken by the sea with the vessel Beth Dee Bob, one of four clam boats that went to the bottom over 13 days in 1999, killing 10 fishermen. C.j. Chivers James Patrick Cronin Elena Hecht Anna Diamond Quinton Kamara, New York Times, 6 June 2024 California Fish Grill, 2100 Arden Way in Sacramento, had a surprise bag that could include three side dishes or menu items, such as rice, kale slaw, clam chowder and roasted corn. Hanh Truong, Sacramento Bee, 4 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for clam 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clam.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


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


2 of 2 verb
clammed; clamming
: to dig or gather clams

More from Merriam-Webster on clam

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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