clam·​my ˈkla-mē How to pronounce clammy (audio)
clammier; clammiest
: being damp, soft, sticky, and usually cool
cold clammy hands
clammy air
: lacking normal human warmth
the clammy atmosphere of an institution
clammily adverb
clamminess noun

Example Sentences

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 Even fully ensconced, our testers had no problem huffing through the thin nylon mesh on hard, high-altitude runs—no foggy sunglasses, no wet, clammy material against their faces. Peter Koch, Outside Online, 18 Oct. 2022 This allows air to pass through to help prevent your feet from overheating and getting clammy with sweat. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 27 Jan. 2023 In addition to that breathable outer layer, a soft mesh liner helps wick moisture and keeps the interior of the jacket from getting clammy. Graham Averill, Outside Online, 5 Jan. 2023 Low temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s are a bit clammy as dew points rise overnight to produce near 100 percent relative humidity. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2022 Wealthy Bangkokians have long escaped the capital’s clammy heat by heading two and a half hours northeast to the cool, forested hillsides surrounding Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site spanning about 900 square miles. Michaela Trimble Yulia Denisyuk Nora Walsh Peju Famojure Cynthia Rosenfeld Janet O’grady, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2022 Twas a dark and sad and clammy day; A lark caws daftly, madly. Pat Myers, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2022 The Víks are woven with Polartec’s Wind Pro Stretch, a super tight-knit, stretchy fleece that repels all but the heaviest of downpours and resists wind, but still breathes enough to keep hands from getting clammy as the run progresses. Peter Koch, Outside Online, 18 Oct. 2022 That same permeability means wool pulls hot vapor off your skin and into the fibers themselves, while airflow keeps you from feeling clammy from sweat. Outside Online, 5 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near clammy

Cite this Entry

“Clammy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


clam·​my ˈklam-ē How to pronounce clammy (audio)
clammier; clammiest
: being damp, soft, sticky, and usually cool
clamminess noun

Medical Definition


clam·​my ˈklam-ē How to pronounce clammy (audio)
clammier; clammiest
: being moist and sticky
a patient in shock may be cold and clammyEmergency Medicine
clammy sweating

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