Meaning of TAME in English


I. ˈtām adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English tam; akin to Old Frisian tam tame, Old High German zam, Old Norse tamr; all from a prehistoric verb represented by Old English temian to tame, Old High German zemmen, Old Norse temja, Gothic ga tamjan, Latin domare, Greek damnanai to tame, Sanskrit damayati he tames


a. : reduced from a state of native wildness : made tractable and useful to man : domesticated

tame cattle gone wild — Hart Stilwell

b. : maintained or displayed to serve the purposes of another : permitted to exist as a harmless specimen of its kind

our tame firebrand — Dorothy Sayers

the new tame sultan — Janet Flanner

c. : brought under control : harnessed

on the day the control structures are completed … the mighty Mississippi should be a pretty tame and useful river — A.W.Baum


a. : not having or showing the qualities (as ferocity or shyness) characteristic of a wild state

the chipmunks … are so tame they beg for food — American Guide Series: California

b. : made docile and submissive : meek , subdued

no colt will bear it, or he's a tame beast — George Meredith

3. : cultivated

the yield of tame blueberries runs from 150 to 1200 quarts per acre — J.M.White

4. : lacking in spirit, zest, or interest : dull , mild , insipid

struck out for himself and refused to live the tame easy life — Frank Sargeson

a little tame wood which rambled up from the village — Audrey Barker

a tame book

a tame campaign


subdued , submissive : tame , in relation to persons and their actions and utterances, suggests domination by others, often with voluntary surrender, or a marked docility and timidity, and lack of independence, assertiveness, exuberance, or wildness

the tamest, the most abject creatures that we can possibly imagine: mild, peaceable, and tractable, they seem to have no will or power to act but as directed by their masters — William Bartram

tame acquiescence in tradition and routine — Irving Babbitt

subdued generally implies a loss of vehemence, intensity, or force; in reference to people it suggests the quietness or meekness of one dependent, chastised, broken, or timorous

subdued voices

there were seamen going about routine duties, but they performed them in a subdued, soundless manner as though they were officiating at church — C.B.Nordhoff & J.N.Hall

their next meeting displayed her quieter: subdued as one who had been set thinking — George Meredith

submissive implies deferring to the will of another and yielding and humbly obeying

a people, gentle, submissive, prompt to obey, and accustomed, as were the Egyptians, to the inexorable demands of tyranny — Agnes Repplier

in the submissive way of one long accustomed to obey under coercion, he ate and drank what they gave him — Charles Dickens

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English tamen, from tame, adjective

transitive verb


a. : to reduce from a wild to a domestic state : make gentle or tractable : domesticate

tame a lion

b. : to subject to cultivation

small valleys and plains that have been tamed and worked into precise patterns by generations of farmers — Patrick O'Donovan

c. : to bring under control : make manageable or usable

roads blasted in the solid rock, wild streams dammed and tamed — John Muir †1914

tame the atom

the sources have been tamed in a masterly fashion — M.M.Postan

2. : to deprive of spirit, courage, or resistance : humble , subdue

tamed the populace with shiploads of … wheat — T.H.Fielding

3. : to tone down : soften

in revising the play, he has tamed it

intransitive verb

: to become tame

the manatees tamed quickly — Natural History

a roughneck frontiersman who tames down at the end — Walter Havighurst

III. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English tamen, short for atamen, from Middle French atamer to attack, from Late Latin attaminare, from Latin ad- + taminare to violate (akin to Latin tangere to touch) — more at tangent

1. dialect England : to cut into : pierce ; especially : broach

2. dialect England : prune

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