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From Middle English clambren, clameren (to climb; heap closely together), cognate with Scots clammer (to clamber), Low German klemmern, klempern (to climb). Compare also Danish klamre (to cling), Swedish klamra (to cling), Icelandic klambra, klembra (to pinch closely together; clamp). Related to climb.



clamber (third-person singular simple present clambers, present participle clambering, simple past and past participle clambered)

  1. To climb with some difficulty, or in a haphazard fashion.
    The children clambered over the jungle gym.
    • 1864, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Enoch Arden":
      The narrow street that clambered toward the mill.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      Thus, sitting where I was, I lit my candle once more, and then clambered across that great coffin which, for two hours or more, had been a mid-wall of partition between me and danger. But to get out of the niche was harder than to get in; for now that I had a candle to light me, I saw that the coffin, though sound enough to outer view, was wormed through and through, and little better than a rotten shell. So it was that I had some ado to get over it, not daring either to kneel upon it or to bring much weight to bear with my hand, lest it should go through.
    • 1912: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 6
      He would clamber about the roof and windows for hours attempting to discover means of ingress, but to the door he paid little attention, for this was apparently as solid as the walls.
    • 1917, William Butler Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), "A Deep-Sworn Vow":
      When I clamber to the heights of sleep
    • 2013, J. M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus. Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company. chapter 22. p. 220.
      And in a trice he has clambered onto the kitchen dresser and is reaching for the top shelf.



clamber (plural clambers)

  1. The act of clambering; a difficult or haphazard climb.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of T. Moore to this entry?)