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[klam-ee] /ˈklæm i/
adjective, clammier, clammiest.
covered with a cold, sticky moisture; cold and damp:
clammy hands.
sickly; morbid:
She had a clammy feeling that something was wrong at home.
Origin of clammy
1350-1400; Middle English, equivalent to Middle English clam sticky, cold and damp + -y -y1
Related forms
clammily, adverb
clamminess, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for clammy
  • Even after an active day the breathable fabric never left my hands damp or clammy or cold.
  • It is not only the clammy discomfort of moving through a damp forest.
  • No waking up damp and clammy and unable to go back to sleep.
  • Home care depends on what is causing the clammy skin.
  • Despite the day being somewhat clammy and overcast, the cicadas are creating an absolute racket.
  • Leaves and stems are clammy to the touch, and have a strong but not unpleasant smell.
  • One feels the urge to let go his clammy hand, pat him gently and ask him if he feels better.
  • Typically, the skin is clammy and pale, sometimes nearly blue.
  • Besides the clammy feel, some scenes strain credulity.
  • It beat the elements, but the stifling outerwear left me feeling clammy.
British Dictionary definitions for clammy


adjective -mier, -miest
unpleasantly sticky; moist: clammy hands
(of the weather, atmosphere, etc) close; humid
Derived Forms
clammily, adverb
clamminess, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old English clǣman to smear; related to Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleimen
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 clammy

"soft and sticky," late 14c., probably from Middle English clam "viscous, sticky, muddy" (mid-14c.), from Old English clæm "mud, sticky clay," from Proto-Germanic *klaimaz "clay" (cf. Flemish klammig, Low German klamig "sticky, damp," Old English clæman "to smear, plaster;" cf. clay). With -y (2). Related: Clammily; clamminess.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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