See also: CLAM

English

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Littleneck clams, of the species Mercenaria mercenaria

Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English clam (pincers, vice, clamp), from Old English clamm (bond, fetter, grip, grasp), from Proto-West Germanic *klammjan (press, squeeze together). The sense “dollar” may allude to wampum. The sense "Scientologist" alludes to the Scientologist belief that human thetans (souls) previously inhabited clams.

Noun

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clam (plural clams)

  1. A bivalve mollusk of many kinds, especially those that are edible; for example soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), sea clams or hen clam (Spisula solidissima), and other species, possibly originally applied to clams of species Tridacna gigas, a huge East Indian bivalve.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter III, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
    • 1970, “Cherrystones”, in Outlaw, performed by Eugene McDaniels:
      Long as I have my clams I don't give a damn about revolution / Long as I have my rice I don't have to think twice about a solution
  2. A type of strong pincers or forceps.
  3. A kind of vise, usually of wood.
  4. (US, slang, chiefly in the plural) A dollar.
    Those sneakers cost me fifty clams!
    • 1973, Lucas Webb, Stribling, page 188:
      The network canceled—nonco-operation their legal shysters said. Suing me, for, for ten million clams, damages to sponsors, agencies.
  5. (slang, derogatory) A Scientologist.
    • 1998 February 23, jesparolini, “CO$ Celebrities: USEFUL IDIOTS”, in alt.religion.scientology[2] (Usenet):
      So the clams have John Travolta, Tom Cruise, et al in their hot li'l ol'P-R hands []
  6. (slang, vulgar) A vagina or vulva.
  7. (slang) In musicians' parlance, a wrong or misplaced note.
  8. (informal) One who clams up; a taciturn person, one who refuses to speak.
  9. (dated, US, slang) mouth (Now found mostly in the expression shut one's clam)
    • 1900, Burt L. Standish, Frank Merriwell's Tricks: Or True Friends and False[3]:
      Why, he hasn't opened his clam since that morning in your room. I expected he would hold forth on every and all occasions.
    • 2017, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Dungeon Brain[4]:
      Jason wouldn't shut his clam about the invaders.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Verb

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clam (third-person singular simple present clams, present participle clamming, simple past and past participle clammed)

  1. To dig for clams.
Derived terms
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Translations
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See also

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Etymology 2

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Noun

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clam (plural clams)

  1. A crash or clangor made by ringing all the bells of a chime at once.
    • 1702, Campanologia Improved:
      By the bells standing too long in leading compass, the rest are thrown and jumbled together; whereby claps and clams so unpleasing to the hearers are occasion'd.

Verb

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clam (third-person singular simple present clams, present participle clamming, simple past and past participle clammed)

  1. To produce, in bellringing, a clam or clangor; to cause to clang.
    • 1702, Campanologia Improved:
      When they [bells] lie fifths thus 1 5 2 6 3 7 4 8, 'tis then most pleasant and excellent music to clam them; that is, the two notes of each concord to strike together, and if they be clam'd true the eight bells will strike like four, but with far greater musick and harmony.

Etymology 3

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From Middle English clammen, clemen (to smear, bedaub), from Old English clǣman (to smear, bedaub). Cognate with German klamm (clammy). See also clammy (damp, cold and sticky) and clem (to adhere, stick, plug (a hole)).

Alternative forms

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Adjective

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clam (comparative clammer, superlative clammest)

  1. (obsolete) clammy.
    • 1808, John Jamieson, An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language[5]:
      Ice is said to be clam, when beginning to melt with the sun or otherwise, and not easy to be slid upon.

Noun

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clam

  1. clamminess; moisture

Verb

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clam (third-person singular simple present clams, present participle clamming, simple past and past participle clammed)

  1. To be moist or glutinous; to stick; to adhere.
  2. To clog, as with glutinous or viscous matter.

Etymology 4

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Noun

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clam (plural clams)

  1. (rowing) Alternative form of CLAM

Etymology 5

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Noun

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clam (plural clams)

  1. Alternative form of clem (to starve)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for clam”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)

Anagrams

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Catalan

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Etymology

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From Latin clamor, possibly borrowed through Old French clamor.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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clam m (plural clams)

  1. clamor
    Synonym: clamor

Latin

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Etymology

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From Proto-Italic *klām perhaps from the accusative case of Proto-Indo-European *ḱleh₂- (concealment) from *ḱel- (to hide, conceal). Cognate with Latin cēlō and others.

Pronunciation

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Adverb

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clam (not comparable)

  1. clandestinely, secretly, privately
    Antonyms: publice, apertē, vulgō, palam
  2. stealthily

Derived terms

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Preposition

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clam (+ accusative, ablative)

  1. (with accusative or, rarely, ablative) without the knowledge of, unknown to
    • 163 B.C.E. Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, Act II, Scene II:
      Neque adeō clam mē est.
      Nor indeed is it unknown to me.

References

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  • clam”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • clam”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • clam in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • clam in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.

Old English

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From Proto-West Germanic *klaim (mortar, clay).

Pronunciation

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Noun

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clām m

  1. mud

Declension

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Old Irish

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Etymology

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From Proto-Celtic *klamos (sick, leprous). Cognate with Welsh claf (sick, ill).[1]

Noun

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clam m or f

  1. leper

Usage notes

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The noun's gender depends on the leper's gender. If the leper is male, it is masculine. If the leper is female, it is feminine.

Inflection

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Masculine o-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative clam clamL claimL
Vocative claim clamL clamuH
Accusative clamN clamL clamuH
Genitive claimL clam clamN
Dative clamL clamaib clamaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization
Feminine ā-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative clamL claimL clamaH
Vocative clamL claimL clamaH
Accusative claimN claimL clamaH
Genitive claimeH clamL clamN
Dative claimL clamaib clamaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization

Descendants

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  • Middle Irish: clam

Mutation

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Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
clam chlam clam
pronounced with /ɡ(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

References

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  1. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2011 December) “Addenda et corrigenda to Ranko Matasović’s Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Brill, Leiden 2009)”, in Homepage of Ranko Matasović[1], Zagreb, page 43

Further reading

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