1

gam

play
noun \ˈgam\

Definition of gam

slang

  1. :  leg

gam was our Word of the Day on 02/03/2012. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of gam

originally in British underworld argot, probably going back to Lingua Franca gamba “leg,” going back to Italian, going back to Late Latin — more at jamb


First Known Use: circa 1785


2

gam

noun

Definition of gam

  1. 1 :  a visit or friendly conversation at sea or ashore especially between whalers

  2. 2 :  a school of whales

Origin and Etymology of gam

perhaps short for 5gammon


First Known Use: 1831


3

gam

verb

Definition of gam

gammed

;

gamming

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to engage in a gam (see 2gam 1)

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to have a gam with (see 2gam 1)

  5. 2 :  to spend or pass (time) talking

Did You Know?

But what is a gam? You might wear out your index-finger running up and down the columns of dictionaries, and never find the word. So says the narrator, who calls himself Ishmael, of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. These days you will indeed find "gam" entered in dictionaries; Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the noun "gam" as "a visit or friendly conversation at sea or ashore especially between whalers." (It can also mean "a school of whales.") Melville’s narrator explains that when whaling ships met far out at sea, they would hail one another and the crews would exchange visits and news. English speakers have been using the word gam to refer to these and similar social exchanges since the mid-19th century.

Origin and Etymology of gam

derivative of 2gam


First Known Use: 1849


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