Meaning of DAM in English


I. ˈdam, ˈdaa(ə)m noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, lady, dam, variant of dame — more at dame

: a female parent — used especially of domestic animals and poultry but sometimes archaically and usually disparagingly of women

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English; akin to Old English for demman to dam up, Middle High German tam dam, Old High German temmen to dam, Gothic faur dammjan to put a stop to, and perhaps to Greek themeilia foundations, tithenai to place, set — more at do

1. : a barrier preventing the flow of water

a lava dam

beaver dams

a dam of drift or other deposits across a valley fed with meltwater — R.F.Flint

especially : a barrier (as a bank of earth or a wall of masonry or wood) built across a watercourse to confine and keep back flowing water

2. : a body of water confined or held by a dam (as a millpond or reservoir)

wild geese … would rise from the waters of the dam at my approach — H.V.Morton

swimming in this dam is prohibited

3. : a barrier or obstruction intended to check the flow of liquid, gas, or air: as

a. : a thin sheet of rubber that is stretched around a tooth to keep it dry during dental work

b. : a partition for excluding water, fire, or gas from a section of a mine

c. : a firebrick wall or a stone forming the front of the hearth of a blast furnace

4. chiefly Britain : a portable water tank filled from a hose and used in fire fighting

III. transitive verb

( dammed ; dammed ; damming ; dams )

1. : to provide with a dam : obstruct or restrain the flow of (water) by means of a dam

dam a stream

— often used with up

2. : to stop up : block up

the strait pass was dammed with dead men — Shakespeare

: obstruct , impede

the futility of trying to dam the flow of history

— often used with up or back

dam up an emotion

dam back his tears

the tensions dammed up by the depression — Oscar Handlin

Synonyms: see hinder

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: back-formation from dams

Scotland : a piece in checkers ; especially : king

V. abbreviation


Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.