clam·​my | \ ˈkla-mē How to pronounce clammy (audio) \
clammier; clammiest

Definition of clammy

1 : being damp, soft, sticky, and usually cool cold clammy hands clammy air
2 : lacking normal human warmth the clammy atmosphere of an institution

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Other Words from clammy

clammily \ ˈkla-​mə-​lē How to pronounce clammily (audio) \ adverb
clamminess \ ˈkla-​mē-​nəs How to pronounce clamminess (audio) \ noun

Examples of clammy in a Sentence

His hand was cold and clammy. after a clammy handshake, the two bitter rivals squared off for a no-holds-barred debate
Recent Examples on the Web Pale, clammy skin; blue or gray lips and fingertips. Catalina Righter,, "Carroll County Health Department issues alert after ‘multiple suspected overdoses and deaths’," 6 Nov. 2019 Mulan looked at Xiu and the cold, clammy whiteness of her sister’s cheeks. David Canfield,, "Exclusive preview: Grace Lin fashions a gorgeous original Mulan novel," 24 Oct. 2019 The clammy gray walls of the bunker are still hung with military maps and aerial photos of Soviet missile silos faded from decades of salt air. Tony Perrottet, WSJ, "A Weirdly Fascinating Cold-War Tour of Havana," 20 Nov. 2018 The fresh linguine with local littlenecks was bland, its light broth lacking a clammy punch. Craig Laban,, "Atlantic City restaurants: New casinos, diverse independent spots create rising culinary energy," 6 July 2018 In the case of heat exhaustion, the skin becomes clammy and cold and the pulse slows down. Shelby Dermer,, "Parents and athletes: How to spot and treat heat-related illnesses this summer," 3 July 2018 The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Get the behind-the-scene scoop on the most popular teen films ever," 27 June 2018 Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, nausea and vomiting. Trihealth,, "Protect yourself from heat-related illness," 25 June 2018 These hands are often soft to the touch and a bit clammy, with an overall narrow appearance. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner's Guide to Reading Palms," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clammy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clammy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clammy

Middle English, probably from clammen to smear, stick, from Old English clǣman; akin to Old English clǣg clay

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Time Traveler for clammy

Time Traveler

The first known use of clammy was in the 14th century

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Statistics for clammy

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Clammy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for clammy


How to pronounce clammy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clammy

: unpleasantly wet and cold


clam·​my | \ ˈkla-mē How to pronounce clammy (audio) \
clammier; clammiest

Kids Definition of clammy

: unpleasantly damp, sticky, and cool clammy skin


clam·​my | \ ˈklam-ē How to pronounce clammy (audio) \
clammier; clammiest

Medical Definition of clammy

: being moist and sticky a patient in shock may be cold and clammyEmergency Medicine clammy sweating

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More from Merriam-Webster on clammy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clammy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clammy

Spanish Central: Translation of clammy

Nglish: Translation of clammy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on clammy

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