the starchy, tuberous root of any of various climbing vines of the genus Dioscorea, cultivated for food in warm regions.
any of these plants.
Scot. potato ( def 1 ).

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

cassava, sweet potato, yam.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yam (jæm)
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
[C17: from Portuguese inhame, ultimately of West African origin; compare Senegal nyami to eat]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1588, from Port. inhame or Sp. igname, from a W.African language (cf. Fulani nyami "to eat;" Twi anyinam "species of yam"); the word in Amer.Eng. and in Jamaican Eng. is probably directly borrowed from W.African sources.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for yam
Yam and sweet potato cubes served in coconut milk and sago, served hot or cold.
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