adjective, tam·er, tam·est.
- changed from the wild or savage state; domesticated: a tame bear.
- without the savageness or fear of humans normal in wild animals; gentle, fearless, or without shyness, as if domesticated: That lion acts as tame as a house cat.
- tractable, docile, or submissive, as a person or the disposition.
- lacking in excitement; dull; insipid: a very tame party.
- spiritless or pusillanimous.
- not to be taken very seriously; without real power or importance; serviceable but harmless: They kept a tame scientist around.
- brought into service; rendered useful and manageable; under control, as natural resources or a source of power.
- cultivated or improved by cultivation, as a plant or its fruit.
verb (used with object), tamed, tam·ing.
- to make tame; domesticate; make tractable.
- to deprive of courage, ardor, or zest.
- to deprive of interest, excitement, or attractiveness; make dull.
- to soften; tone down.
- to harness or control; render useful, as a source of power.
- to cultivate, as land or plants.
verb (used without object), tamed, tam·ing.
- to become tame.
- changed by man from a naturally wild state into a tractable, domesticated, or cultivated condition
- (of animals) not fearful of human contact
- lacking in spirit or initiative; meek or submissivea tame personality
- flat, insipid, or uninspiringa tame ending to a book
- slow-movinga tame current
- to make tame; domesticate
- to break the spirit of, subdue, or curb
- to tone down, soften, or mitigate
adj.Old English tom, tam “domesticated, docile,” from Proto-Germanic *tamaz (cf. Old Norse tamr, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch tam, Old High German zam, German zahm “tame,” Gothic tamjan “to tame”), from PIE *deme- “to constrain, to force, to break (horses)” (cf. Sanskrit damayati “tames;” Persian dam “a tame animal;” Greek daman “to tame, subdue,” dmetos “tame;” Latin domare “to tame, subdue;” Old Irish damnaim “I tie up, fasten, I tame, subdue”). Possible ulterior connection with PIE *dem- “house, household” (see domestic). Meaning “spiritless, weak, dull” is recorded from c.1600. v.early Middle English teme, from Old English temian “make tame” (see tame (adj.)); form altered 14c. by influence of the adjective. Related: Tamed; taming.