\ˈyam \

Definition of yam 

1 : the edible starchy tuberous root of various plants (genus Dioscorea of the family Dioscoreaceae) used as a staple food in tropical areas also : a plant producing yams

2 : a moist usually orange-fleshed sweet potato

Examples of yam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Therefore, the orange sweet potatoes are often mislabeled as yams in stores. Caroline Walder, Good Housekeeping, "Sweet Potatoes Are Officially One of the Best Carbs You Can Eat," 5 Mar. 2018 Most Kanaks subsistence-farm yams, taros, sweet potatoes and bananas. A. Odysseus Patrick, Washington Post, "A bit of France in the South Pacific votes this year on independence," 1 June 2018 At the center of The Can of Anido is Maran (Xie Jia-hui), an old aboriginal farmer who spends his days silently cultivating his ailing crops and feeding himself with pintsized yam in his barren, rickety hut. Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ten Years Taiwan': Film Review," 13 July 2018 Russian words for money (den’gi), treasury (kazna) and customs (tamozhnia) are all of Mongol-Turkic origin, and the Mongols’ system of yam postal relay networks became the backbone of the Russian empire. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Russia’s Turn to Its Asian Past," 6 July 2018 In the Philippines, street vendors peddle keso, a cheddar cheese and sweet cream ice cream, and ube, a purple yam that’s a cornerstone flavor in Filipino desserts. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie, BostonGlobe.com, "How ice cream made America," 30 June 2018 Velu awoke at dawn, ate rice and yam curry for breakfast, and practiced long jumps, military crawls, squats, rope-walking, and running. Longreads, "A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers," 22 May 2018 Made with malted milk and sweet purple yams (ube), it was inspired by Borlongan's Filipino upbringing and is now a Wanderlust signature flavor. Sara Lieberman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Wanderlust Creamery Takes You Around the Globe in a Single Scoop," 25 May 2018 Buttered yam lattes—less cloying than the name suggests—are made with dairy-free oat milk, while a futuristic Mavam espresso machine dispenses shots from Coffee Manufactory beans. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "This Tiny Echo Park Coffeehouse Is Serving Food With Big Flavor," 12 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yam.' 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 yam

1657, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for yam

earlier iname, from Portuguese inhame & Spanish ñame, of African origin; akin to Fulani nyami to eat

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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The first known use of yam was in 1657

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English Language Learners Definition of yam

: a long, thick root of a tropical plant that has rough brown skin and usually white or yellow flesh and that is eaten as a vegetable


\ˈyam \

Kids Definition of yam

1 : the starchy thick underground tuber of a climbing plant that is an important food in many tropical regions

2 : a sweet potato with a moist and usually orange flesh

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