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noun (1)

plural drams
: a unit of weight in the avoirdupois system equal to one sixteenth of an ounce see Weights and Measures Table
: a unit of weight in the apothecaries' system equal to one eighth of an ounce see Weights and Measures Table
US : a unit of liquid capacity equal to ¹/₈ fluid ounce see Weights and Measures Table
British : a unit of liquid capacity equal to 0.217 cubic inches see Weights and Measures Table
: a small portion of something to drink
: a small amount


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noun (2)

: the basic monetary unit of Armenia see Money Table


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noun (3)

: a type of RAM that must be continuously supplied with power and periodically rewritten in order to retain data compare sram

Did you know?

In avoirdupois weight—that is, the system of weights commonly used in North America and the United Kingdom—a dram is equal to 1/16 ounce (1.772 grams). The word dram was borrowed from the Anglo-French and Late Latin word dragme, which was originally used for a silver coin used by the ancient Greeks (now known in English as the drachma) as well as for the coin's approximate weight. In the 16th century, English speakers began also using dram for a weight of fluid measure (also called a fluid dram) equal to 1/8 fluid ounce, and more loosely for any small portion of something to drink. Dram is also used figuratively for any small amount, in much the same way as grain and ounce.

Examples of dram in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
In a hot mug, pour 1/2 to 1 ounce of clam bouillon, 1 dram, i.e., one-eighth ounce, of liquid beef, and a half ounce of cream. David Reamer | Alaska History, Anchorage Daily News, 23 July 2023 Finished in French Cuvée casks, its potently sweet and rounded flavor evokes champagne so perfectly that this whisky lover actually prefers a dram of it to a glass of bubbly. Tony Sachs, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2023 First stop is obviously the lifelong dream of having my own dram. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 20 June 2023 Come for a tour of the facility and master distiller Shane Fraser, a Scotsman who previously worked at Oban, Glenfarclas, and Wolfburn, will show you how things work before directing you to the adjacent bar for a cocktail or a dram. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 19 June 2023 But this savory and generous dram is about more than just that telltale note, and the hints of honey, spice, chocolate, and cedar lend even greater complexity to this already delicious whisky. Brian Freedman, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 By contrast, Rare Cask #3 has been reserved exclusively for the United States, thus providing an elegant way to say sláinte with one of the most grand drams ever to hail from the Emerald Isles. Richard Carleton Hacker, Robb Report, 26 Feb. 2023 Sip them by the dram, or take home full bottles of liquid that’s frustratingly rare. Brad Japhe, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Instead of chocolate or candy, each day had a dram of a single malt from a Scottish distillery, typically one ounce or so. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dram.' 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 dragme, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French, dram, drachma, from Late Latin dragma, from Latin drachma, from Greek drachmē, literally, handful, from drassesthai to grasp

Noun (2)

Armenian, literally, coin, money, ultimately from Greek drachmē drachma

Noun (3)

dynamic + RAM (random-access memory)

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(2)

Noun (2)

1993, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dram was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near dram

Cite this Entry

“Dram.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dram. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a unit of liquid capacity equal to ⅛ fluid ounce see measure

Medical Definition


variants also drachm
: either of two units of weight:
: an avoirdupois unit equal to 1.772 grams or 27.344 grains
: a unit of apothecaries' weight equal to 3.888 grams or 60 grains

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