1 [dam]
a barrier to obstruct the flow of water, especially one of earth, masonry, etc., built across a stream or river.
a body of water confined by a dam.
any barrier resembling a dam.
verb (used with object), dammed, damming.
to furnish with a dam; obstruct or confine with a dam.
to stop up; block up.

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German, dam; akin to Old English for-demman to stop up, block

5. impede, clog, check, choke.
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2 [dam]
a female parent (used especially of four-footed domestic animals).

1250–1300; Middle English; variant of dame

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dam1 (dæm)
1.  a barrier of concrete, earth, etc, built across a river to create a body of water for a hydroelectric power station, domestic water supply, etc
2.  a reservoir of water created by such a barrier
3.  something that resembles or functions as a dam
vb (often foll by up) , dams, damming, dammed
4.  to obstruct or restrict by or as if by a dam
[C12: probably from Middle Low German; compare Old Icelandic damma to block up]

dam2 (dæm)
the female parent of an animal, esp of domestic livestock
[C13: variant of dame]

dam3 (dæm)
interj, —adv, —adj
(often used in combination) damn damn damn a variant spelling of damn : damfool; dammit

symbol for

Dam (Danish dam)
(Carl Peter) Henrik (ˈhɛnrəɡ). 1895--1976, Danish biochemist who discovered vitamin K (1934): Nobel prize for physiology or medicine 1943

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Word Origin & History

"water barrier," early 14c., probably from O.N. dammr or M.Du. dam, both from P.Gmc. *dammaz, of unknown origin.

"animal mother," c.1300, variant of dame (q.v.), also originally used, like that word, for "lady, mother;" but meanings diverged into separate spellings by 16c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

dam (dām)
A barrier against the passage of liquid or loose material, especially a rubber sheet used in dentistry to isolate one or more teeth from the rest of the mouth.

Dam (dām, däm), (Carl Peter) Henrik. 1895-1976.

Danish biochemist. He shared a 1943 Nobel Prize for the discovery of vitamin K.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. diacetylmonoxime

  2. divorced Asian male

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Dams, irrigation and now climate change have drastically reduced the
  once-mighty river.
Offers a global perspective on resistance to the uprooting of people for dams
  and other development projects.
Dams and reservoirs in the hills probably the best solution.
But dams and other changes to the land cut the fish off from many lakes, which
  became alewife-free.
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