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

  • n. One of a pair of vertical posts or pieces that together form the sides of a door, window frame, or fireplace, for example.
  • n. A projecting mass or columnar part.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The vertical components that form the sides of a door frame, window frame, or fireplace, or other opening in a wall.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The vertical side of any opening, as a door or fireplace; hence, less properly, any narrow vertical surface of wall, as the of a chimney-breast or of a pier, as distinguished from its face.
  • n. Any thick mass of rock which prevents miners from following the lode or vein.
  • n. See jambes.
  • transitive v. See jam, v. t. & i.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An obsolete spelling of jam.
  • n. A leg.
  • n. The side or cheek of a helmet or shield.
  • n. In architecture, a side or vertical piece of any opening or aperture in a wall, such as a door, window, or chimney, which helps to bear the lintel or other member overhead serving to sustain or discharge the superincumbent weight of the wall.
  • n. In mining, a mass of mineral or stone in a quarry or pit standing upright, and more or less distinct from neighboring or adjoining parts. Also spelled jam.

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

  • n. upright consisting of a vertical side member of a door or window frame


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

Middle English jambe, from Old French, leg, jamb, from Late Latin gamba, horse's hock, leg; see gambol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English jambe, from Middle French jambe ("leg"), from Late Latin gamba



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  • from French for leg

    August 25, 2008

  • "In castle architecture, the vertical side of a doorway, window, archway, or fireplace." Never actually seen it used to describe anything but a doorway. Nice to know it's there if we need it for something else though.

    August 25, 2008

  • I've never actually seen this word used without "door."

    "'Two more cans of barley-water, Killick; and let Bonden know the Doctor wants the blue cutter at three bells in the morning watch.'

    'Two cans and three bells it is, sir,' said Killick, aiming for the door. 'Two cans, three bells.' He struck the jamb a shrewd blow—he was usually drunk after a dinner-party—but he got through upright."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 361

    March 9, 2008