1. a barrier to obstruct the flow of water, especially one of earth, masonry, etc., built across a stream or river.
  2. a body of water confined by a dam.
  3. any barrier resembling a dam.

verb (used with object), dammed, dam·ming.

  1. to furnish with a dam; obstruct or confine with a dam.
  2. to stop up; block up.


  1. a barrier of concrete, earth, etc, built across a river to create a body of water for a hydroelectric power station, domestic water supply, etc
  2. a reservoir of water created by such a barrier
  3. something that resembles or functions as a dam

verb dams, damming or dammed

  1. (tr often foll by up) to obstruct or restrict by or as if by a dam


  1. the female parent of an animal, esp of domestic livestock

interjection, adverb, adjective

  1. (often used in combination) a variant spelling of damn (def. 1), damn (def. 2), damn (def. 3), damn (def. 4) damfool; dammit

symbol for

  1. decametre(s)


  1. (Carl Peter) Henrik (ˈhɛnrəɡ). 1895–1976, Danish biochemist who discovered vitamin K (1934): Nobel prize for physiology or medicine 1943

late 15c., from dam (n.1). Related: Dammed; damming.


“water barrier,” early 14c., probably from Old Norse dammr or Middle Dutch dam, both from Proto-Germanic *dammaz (cf. Old Frisian damm, German Damm), of unknown origin.


“animal mother,” c.1300, variant of dame (q.v.), also originally used, like that word, for “lady, mother;” but meanings diverged into separate spellings by 16c.


  1. A barrier against the passage of liquid or loose material, especially a rubber sheet used in dentistry to isolate one or more teeth from the rest of the mouth.

  1. Danish biochemist. He shared a 1943 Nobel Prize for the discovery of vitamin K.

see water over the dam.

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