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 The glacial water is a cloudy phlegm green beneath the surface, and clammy reeds slap one’s ankles. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Playtime With Harry Styles," 13 Nov. 2020 First, pay attention to what your mattress is made of, as some materials can leave you feeling clammy or uncomfortable, Van Cauter says. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "This Room Temperature Is the Key to a Better Night's Rest, According to a Sleep Expert," 5 Nov. 2020 It was estimated that the dark, clammy tube could accommodate 1,404 survivors. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A fallout shelter might have caused you to fall out with your neighbors," 4 Nov. 2020 The crucial difference is that where his father’s clammy culture-war grifting is mostly in service of his abiding and only area of interest—Donald Trump and What People Say About Him on TV—Trump Jr. may actually believe some of this dreck. David Roth, The New Republic, "How Don Jr. Became the Future of Trumpism," 27 Oct. 2020 The Hagen-Alberich scene, a festival of abyssal timbres, featured a superbly clammy trio of electric bass, bass clarinet, and accordion. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung,” in a Detroit Parking Garage," 26 Oct. 2020 Signs of heat exhaustion include cold, clammy skin; a fast, weak pulse; vomiting; weakness and fainting. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Woman, 41, Dies While Hiking in Santa Monica Mountains During California Heat Wave," 7 Sep. 2020 But when an ugly incident at school disrupts their feverish pas de deux, September's grip on her younger sister becomes more menacing, too — a fraught and feral thing that Johnson evokes with clammy, startling intimacy. Ew Staff,, "Deception becomes her: 6 twisty female-led tales to read this fall," 24 Aug. 2020 After all, they're often packed with other kids and caregivers, full of clammy metal and plastic surfaces, and encourage our little ones to run wild (not exactly a model for social distancing). Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "Are Playgrounds Safe During the Pandemic? Expert-Approved Tips to Lower COVID-19 Risks," 14 July 2020

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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clammy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on clammy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clammy

Nglish: Translation of clammy for Spanish Speakers

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