clam up


clammed up; clamming up; clams up

intransitive verb

: to become silent
clammed up and refused to talk

Examples of clam up in a Sentence

the little girl clammed up when the doctor came into the room
Recent Examples on the Web Jim Harbaugh will coach not to lose and clam up just enough to let Ohio State’s amazing skill talent pull the upset late. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 When pandemic lockdowns clammed up her restaurant clientele, Ms. Brown began selling her oysters from her flatbed truck near her farm in Little Bay, New Hampshire. Alfredo Sosa, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Sep. 2023 Local vape-shop owners clammed up as scrutiny over their sales practices increased. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 22 June 2023 As the vibrant Sun in your communication sector is smothered by wet blanket Saturn in your inhibited 12th house, your fears of being misunderstood could provoke you to clam up. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 28 May 2023 For the Eagles to get such a heavy-handed win, and for both teams to clam up as to what happened, only added more intrigue to the story. Ben Volin,, 6 May 2023 Saudi’s ambitions to build a film industry have been hindered by the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and reports that appear to implicate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the assassination, which prompted media companies from the U.S. and elsewhere to clam up. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 15 Nov. 2021 For the first time during the conversation, Perez clams up. Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 29 Mar. 2023 The move has had a predictable chilling effect on what is left of the country’s independent media, causing journalists to self-censor, sources to clam up, and alternative views of the conflict to be drowned out by official Russian disinformation. Ilan Berman, National Review, 3 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clam up was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near clam up

Cite this Entry

“Clam up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

clam up

: to become silent
they clammed up when asked for more information

More from Merriam-Webster on clam up

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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