Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person's leg.
  • noun A social visit or friendly interchange, especially between whalers or seafarers.
  • noun A herd of whales or a social congregation of whalers, especially at sea.
  • intransitive verb To hold a visit, especially while at sea.
  • intransitive verb To visit with.
  • intransitive verb To spend (time) talking or visiting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A leg.
  • noun A tusk or large tooth.
  • noun A herd or school of whales.
  • noun Hence A social visit between fishermen; a chat, call, or other exchange of courtesies, as when vessels meet and speak each other, exchange visits, give and take letters aboard, etc.
  • To herd together or form a school, as whales; crowd together and swim in the same direction.
  • To make a call, exchange visits, have a chat, etc., as fishermen or fishing-vessels.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To gather in a gam; -- said of whales.
  • intransitive verb To engage in a gam, or (Local, U. S.) in social intercourse anywhere.
  • noun (Naut.) A herd, or school, of whales.
  • noun A visit between whalers at sea; a holding of social intercourse between those on different vessels at sea, or (Local U. S.) between persons ashore.
  • noun A visit between whalers at sea; a holding of social intercourse between those on different vessels at sea, or (Local U. S.) between persons ashore.
  • noun slang a leg.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To have a gam with; to pay a visit to, esp. among whalers at sea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Ireland Alternative spelling of gom. A silly, foolish person.
  • noun A collective noun used to refer to a group of whales; a pod.
  • noun by extension A social gathering of whalers or other ships.
  • verb nautical To make a social visit on another ship at sea.
  • noun slang A person's leg.

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

  • noun a herd of whales

Etymologies

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

[Probably from Polari, from Italian gamba, from Late Latin, hoof; see gambol.]

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

[Perhaps short for gammon or variant of game.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Irish gám.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant form of gamb.

Examples

Comments

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  • This visiting between the crews of ships at sea is called, among whalemen, "gamming."

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 25

    September 9, 2008

  • I like that this word is both "a school of whales" and "a visit between whalers."

    The latter:

    "We met another ship, the Gallopan out of New Bedford, and so embarked upon a gam—a meeting of ships, a bit of fun—and that was my first and best gam, and went on for three or four days till I began to think that we were out here on this ocean for no other reason than to drink rum, eat Wilson Pride's salty pork dumplings and play cards of an evening."

    Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, p 91 of the Doubleday hardcover edition

    January 11, 2012

  • A curious choice as a collective for an order of gamless mammals!

    January 11, 2012