Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “clam up”

clam up

(also shut up like a clam) informal
verb uk phrasal verb with clam   /klæm/ (-mm-) us  
to become silent suddenly, usually because you are embarrassed or nervous, or do not want to talk about a particular subject: He just clams up if you ask him about his childhood.Falling silent and not speaking
(Definition of clam up from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of clam up?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “clam up” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

flair

natural ability to do something well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More