clam up

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

By analogy with a clam closing itself.

Verb[edit]

clam up (third-person singular simple present clams up, present participle clamming up, simple past and past participle clammed up)

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic) To become silent; to stop talking, to shut up.
    • 1986, Paul Chadwick, Concrete: Under the Desert Stars, Dark Horse Books
      Maybe he … or she … was a witness who refused to clam up … a whistle blower …

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