Definitions

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

  • noun Any of numerous chiefly tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea, many of which have edible tuberous roots.
  • noun The starchy root of any of these plants, used in the tropics as food.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A tuberous root of a plant of the genus Dioscorea, particularly if belonging to one of numerous species cultivated for their esculent roots; also, such a plant itself.
  • noun By transference, a variety of the sweet-potato.
  • noun Any plant of the order Dioscoreaceæ.
  • noun See Rajania.

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

  • noun (Bot.) A large, esculent, farinaceous tuber of various climbing plants of the genus Dioscorea; also, the plants themselves. Mostly natives of warm climates. The plants have netted-veined, petioled leaves, and pods with three broad wings. The commonest species is Dioscorea sativa, but several others are cultivated.
  • noun (Bot.), United States Any one of several cultural varieties of the sweet potato.
  • noun a plant (Dioscorea Batatas) with a long and slender tuber, hardier than most of the other species.
  • noun An orchidaceous plant (Gastrodia sesamoides) of Australia and Tasmania.

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

  • noun botany Any climbing vine of the genus Dioscorea in the Eastern and Western hemispheres, usually cultivated
  • noun The edible, starchy, tuberous root of that plant, a tropical staple food.
  • noun US A sweet potato; a tuber from the genus Ipomoea.
  • noun Scotland Potato.
  • noun West Cumbria home.

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

  • noun any of a number of tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea many having edible tuberous roots
  • noun sweet potato with deep orange flesh that remains moist when baked
  • noun edible tuberous root of various yam plants of the genus Dioscorea grown in the tropics world-wide for food
  • noun edible tuber of any of several yams

Etymologies

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

[Portuguese inhame or obsolete Spanish igname, iñame, both from Portuguese and English Creole nyam, to eat, of West African origin; Wolof ñam, food, to eat, or Bambara ñambu, manioc.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Portuguese inhame and Spanish ñame, possibly from the Fula nyami ("to eat"). The term was coined in 1657.

Examples

  • You no let cutty my Foot, so me no let cutty your Head; no be sadd, you have _bumby grande * yam yam_.

    A Voyage to Cacklogallinia With a Description of the Religion, Policy, Customs and Manners of That Country

  • The eater then blows up the steam from the hot yam, and afterwards pokes the whole into his mouth, and says, ‘I thank God for being permitted to eat the new yam’; he then begins to chew it heartily, with fish likewise.

    Chapter 50. Eating the God. § 1. The Sacrament of First-Fruits

  • I guess that the term yam, as misapplied by growers and marketers of sweetpotatoes in the southern states, may have had its origin in the similar shapes of the roots of sweetpotatoes and the tubers another basic botanical difference of yams, the latter having been familiar to slaves from Africa.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • I guess that the term yam, as misapplied by growers and marketers of sweetpotatoes in the southern states, may have had its origin in the similar shapes of the roots of sweetpotatoes and the tubers another basic botanical difference of yams, the latter having been familiar to slaves from Africa.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • The use of the word yam to refer to the orange one is at least as interesting an illustration of linguistic change as the retronyms you cite.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • The use of the word yam to refer to the orange one is at least as interesting an illustration of linguistic change as the retronyms you cite.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • The use of the word yam to refer to the orange one is at least as interesting an illustration of linguistic change as the retronyms you cite.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • The use of the word yam to refer to the orange one is at least as interesting an illustration of linguistic change as the retronyms you cite.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • I guess that the term yam, as misapplied by growers and marketers of sweetpotatoes in the southern states, may have had its origin in the similar shapes of the roots of sweetpotatoes and the tubers another basic botanical difference of yams, the latter having been familiar to slaves from Africa.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • I guess that the term yam, as misapplied by growers and marketers of sweetpotatoes in the southern states, may have had its origin in the similar shapes of the roots of sweetpotatoes and the tubers another basic botanical difference of yams, the latter having been familiar to slaves from Africa.

    No Uncertain Terms

Comments

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  • May in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • Canaanite word for "Sea"

    Also titled Judge Nahar ("Judge River")

    One of the gods of the Levantine pantheon, frequently referred to as "the serpent"

    (Wikipedia)

    January 21, 2008