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yam

[yam] /yæm/
noun
1.
the starchy, tuberous root of any of various climbing vines of the genus Dioscorea, cultivated for food in warm regions.
2.
any of these plants.
3.
4.
Scot. potato (def 1).
Origin
Jamaican English
1580-1590
1580-90; compare Gullah nyam, Jamaican English nyaams, Sranan jamsi < sources in one or more West African languages (compare Wolof nyam(nyam), Fulani nyami to eat, Twi εnãm flesh, ànyinam, ayam’kàw-dé kinds of yam; earlier E forms < Portuguese inhame or Spanish (i)ñame
Can be confused
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for yam
  • yam and sweet potato cubes served in coconut milk and sago, served hot or cold.
British Dictionary definitions for yam

yam

/jæm/
noun
1.
any of various twining plants of the genus Dioscorea, of tropical and subtropical regions, cultivated for their edible tubers: family Dioscoreaceae
2.
the starchy tuber of any of these plants, which is eaten as a vegetable
3.
(Southern US) any of certain large varieties of sweet potato
4.
a former Scot name for the (common) potato
Word Origin
C17: from Portuguese inhame, ultimately of West African origin; compare Senegal nyami to eat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yam
n.

1580s, from Portuguese inhame or Spanish igname, from a West African language (cf. Fulani nyami "to eat;" Twi anyinam "species of yam"); the word in American and Jamaican English probably is directly from West African sources.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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