1. A female parent; used of beasts, especially of quadrupeds; sometimes applied in contempt to a human mother. "Our sire and dam, now confined to horses, are a relic of this age (13th century) . . . .Dame is used of a hen; we now make a great difference between dame and dam." (T. L. K. Oliphant) "The dam runs lowing up end down, Looking the way her harmless young one went." (Shak)

2. A kind or crowned piece in the game of draughts.

Origin: OE. Dame mistress, lady; also, mother, dam. See Dame.

1. A barrier to prevent the flow of a liquid; especially, a bank of earth, or wall of any kind, as of masonry or wood, built across a water course, to confine and keep back flowing water.

2. <chemistry> A firebrick wall, or a stone, which forms the front of the hearth of a blast furnace. Dam plate, an iron plate in front of the dam, to strengthen it.

Origin: Akin to OLG, D, & Dan. Dam, G. & Sw. Damm, Icel. Dammr, and AS. Fordemman to stop up, Goth. Faordammjan.

(01 Mar 1998)

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