from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various devices used to join, grip, support, or compress mechanical or structural parts.
  • n. Any of various tools with opposing, often adjustable sides or parts for bracing objects or holding them together.
  • transitive v. To fasten, grip, or support with or as if with a clamp.
  • transitive v. To establish by authority; impose: clamped a tax on imports.
  • clamp down To become more strict or repressive; impose controls: clamping down on environment polluters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brace, band, or clasp for strengthening or holding things together.
  • v. To fasten in place or together with (or as if with) a clamp.
  • v. To tread heavily or clumsily; to clump or clomp.
  • v. To hold or grip tightly.
  • v. To modify a numeric value so it lies within a specific range.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Something rigid that holds fast or binds things together; a piece of wood or metal, used to hold two or more pieces together.
  • n.
  • n. An instrument with a screw or screws by which work is held in its place or two parts are temporarily held together.
  • n. A piece of wood placed across another, or inserted into another, to bind or strengthen.
  • n. One of a pair of movable pieces of lead, or other soft material, to cover the jaws of a vise and enable it to grasp without bruising.
  • n. A thick plank on the inner part of a ship's side, used to sustain the ends of beams.
  • n. A mass of bricks heaped up to be burned; or of ore for roasting, or of coal for coking.
  • n. A mollusk. See Clam.
  • n. A heavy footstep; a tramp.
  • intransitive v. To tread heavily or clumsily; to clump.
  • transitive v. To fasten with a clamp or clamps; to apply a clamp to; to place in a clamp.
  • transitive v. To cover, as vegetables, with earth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fasten with a clamp or clamps; fix a clamp on.
  • To burn (bricks) in a clamp. See clamp, n., 1.
  • To cover (potatoes, beets, turnips, etc.) with earth for winter keeping.
  • To tread heavily; tramp.
  • To make or mend in a clumsy manner; patch.
  • To patch or trump up (a charge or an accusation).
  • n. An instrument of wood, metal, or other rigid material, used to hold anything, or to hold or fasten two or more things together by pressure so as to keep them in the same relative position.
  • n. plural The hinged plates over the trunnions of a gun: generally called cap-squares.
  • n. One of a pair of movable cheeks of lead or copper covering the jaws of a vise, and enabling it to grasp without bruising.
  • n. In botany, in the mycelium of fungi, a nearly semicircular cellular protuberance, like a short branch, which springs from one cell of a filament close to a transverse wall, and is closely applied to the lateral wall of the adjoining cell. Each cell coalesces with the clamp, and thus an open passage is formed between the two cells. Also called clamp-cell.
  • n. plural Andirons.
  • n. A stack of bricks laid up for burning, in such a manner as to leave spaces between them for the access of the fire, and imperviously inclosed: called a brick-clamp, in distinction from a brick-kiln.
  • n. A pile of ore for roasting, or of coal for coking.
  • n. A mound of earth lined with straw thrown up over potatoes, beets, turnips, etc., to keep them through the winter.
  • n. A large fire made of underwood.
  • n. A heap of peat or turf for fuel.
  • n. An obsolete form of clam.
  • n. A heavy footstep or tread; a tramp.
  • n. A clamp-shell, Tridacna; a chama.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. fasten or fix with a clamp
  • n. a device (generally used by carpenters) that holds things firmly together
  • v. impose or inflict forcefully


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Middle Dutch klampe.


  • Police seized 20,945 litres of alcoholic drinks 44,265 pints from underage drinkers during a February half term clamp down on public drinking, Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker announced today.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • A pipe clamp is really a necessary tool when using screws with roughcut lumber.


  • The level of patriotic indignation in China against posturing by American and European politicians over Tibet is already so high that a long-term clamp-down in Tibet seems inevitable, while public support in China for continued cooperation with the West can no longer be taken for granted.

    Israelated - English Israel blogs

  • Recent moratorium on development of big-box gaming resorts in US due to economic downturn evolves into a long-term clamp down.

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  • The enclosure of the HCM series provides a 'clamp'-style recessed barrier strip, which secures wire without twisting.

    Electronicstalk - electronics industry news

  • The clamp was the method we used to get back to a tolerable level of compliance.

    22 « June « 2009 « Stephen Rees’s blog

  • The bricks near the centre of the clamp will be the hardest.

    Chapter 4

  • A widely used adaptation of the clamp is the scove kiln, also mistakenly called a clamp.

    Chapter 10

  • The clamp is the most basic type of kiln since no permanent kiln structure is built.

    Chapter 10

  • I got the one with the clamp, which is really nice on my balcony railing or at the end of a picnic table. News


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  • “On Tuesday, the British government announced that it would introduce legislation in the fall banning private companies from clamping — the British term for what Americans know as “booting” — or towing any vehicle parked on private land, and limiting the companies to a regulated system of parking tickets.”

    The New York Times, With a Sit-Down Stand, a Briton Kicks the Boot, by John F. Burns, August 17, 2010

    August 18, 2010

  • This was a new-to-me sense of this word: "To cover, as vegetables, with earth." See a potato clamp here: I read about it in The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff: "With what Pell and the boys earned out of doors, and all that Lou, Bean, Ellen, and Sally accomplished at home, the pantry would be filled for winter with fruit in jars, apples set on racks, potatoes in the clamp, hanging bacon, and maize flour ground arduously by hand to save paying the miller" (p 33).

    June 25, 2010