Main definitions of dam in English

: dam1dam2dam3

dam1

noun

  • 1A barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level, the resulting reservoir being used in the generation of electricity or as a water supply.

    • ‘But what if we build dams to generate electricity or protect low-lying regions from floods?’
    • ‘A lake at Oakford Park, a pleasure resort near Pittsburgh, was flooded by a violent rainstorm and burst the dam, causing a wall of water to sweep down Bush Creek valley.’
    • ‘The dam raised the water level by 54 feet and created a three-mile-long reservoir holding around 9,000 million gallons.’
    • ‘By raising the dam, water levels would reach a point where they would flood many of the beach-front properties that sit close to the lake shore.’
    • ‘Traditionally, increased water demands have been met by developing additional water supplies using dams, impoundment reservoirs, and canal systems.’
    • ‘Hydroelectric dams use water turbines in the same way to generate power.’
    • ‘The next big project by the family was to build a dam to generate electricity to use to milk the cows and provide lighting for the house and sheds.’
    • ‘An Indian Supreme Court judgement finally gave the project the go-ahead, allowing the height of the dam to be raised to a level that would finally allow water to flow down the irrigation canals.’
    • ‘He reasoned that constructing a dam would enable water to be stored for irrigation in the dry season, and flooding could be prevented at other times.’
    • ‘It was reasoned that the completed dam would undeniably supply electricity and therefore be of economic benefit in the broadest sense.’
    • ‘Increasing numbers of privatised water schemes are linked to ventures to abstract more water through vast dams and reservoirs.’
    • ‘The town went into a steep decline after the construction of a dam left the beach waters cold enough for trout, but too cold for summer visitors.’
    • ‘Because of the canal's location between two dams, its water level stays constant, so the architects were free to place each little building as close to it as they wanted.’
    • ‘Emergency crews and dive teams are standing by, and authorities say that water levels behind the dam are dropping.’
    • ‘Water can already flow through turbines at dams in order to generate electricity.’
    • ‘Factors ranging from pollution to water turbines, dams and weirs, for example, also account for the loss of eels.’
    • ‘He'll test them on Nile crocodiles in South Africa, which are imperiled because changes to a local dam will raise water levels and swamp nesting beaches.’
    • ‘He says when more than 1.3-billion people in the world don't have access to safe water and electricity, new dams will have to be built.’
    • ‘The effect is achieved by pumping the water over small dams known as weirs.’
    • ‘You can have problems with rising and falling water levels as dams are opened and closed so never take water conditions for granted.’
    barrage, barrier, wall, embankment, levee, barricade, obstruction, hindrance, blockage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A barrier of branches in a stream, constructed by a beaver to provide a deep pool and a lodge.
      • ‘Visitors will be fascinated to see the lodges and dams that beavers build and, given the chance, will be delighted to watch these entertaining and intelligent animals.’
      • ‘The ants are preparing, the birds are building their nests, and the beaver is constructing his dam.’
      • ‘Beaver dams usually stand no more than ten feet (three meters) tall and integrate a series of steps into the slope.’
      • ‘The trees are used to build lodges and large dams that provide their aquatic habitat.’
      • ‘Photos from 40 years ago show a common practice of clearing vegetation and beaver dams from streams to help the water run more freely for irrigation.’
    2. 1.2A rubber sheet used to keep saliva from the teeth during dental operations, or as a prophylactic device during cunnilingus and anilingus.
      • ‘The use of tooth isolation technique using rubber dam material makes the procedure even more fail-proof.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Build a dam across (a river or lake)

    • ‘Lake Nasser was formed by damming the River Nile.’
    • ‘Nearby, a smaller lake was created by damming a tributary creek.’
    • ‘But the best form of water storage is in the ground, not in huge surface reservoirs created by damming rivers.’
    • ‘This is a reservoir of approximately 800 acres formed by damming the River Wolf.’
    • ‘The remaining forest died out when the Hackensack River was dammed upstream, resulting in an invasion of salt water.’
    • ‘Since we began damming our inland rivers we have doubled our water consumption with each generation.’
    • ‘Barro Colorado and other nearby islands were created during canal construction in the early 1900s when engineers dammed Panama's Chagras River to make Gatun Lake.’
    • ‘The park was named for Town Lake, the part of the Colorado River that was dammed between the Tom Miller Dam and the Longhorn Dam.’
    • ‘In the mid-nineteenth century the headwaters of the river were dammed, forming Spring Lake, which remains a popular attraction.’
    • ‘In the Soviet era, the Vakhsh River was dammed for irrigation and electric power, and factories were built along its banks.’
    • ‘The reservoir is not particularly old, though it once had a river running through it which was dammed to form the lake.’
    • ‘He dammed the loch, built a power station, and began installing what was to become the most sophisticated fish farm in the world.’
    • ‘There are only so many rivers that can be dammed, and we now understand the dramatic environmental impact of large-scale hydropower plants.’
    • ‘He says today's action has some similarities to the 1980s legal fight to save Tasmania's Franklin River from being dammed.’
    • ‘Since the river was dammed, Chinook salmon numbers have declined by 90%.’
    • ‘Deal's congressional district includes Lake Sidney Lanier, created in the 1950s by damming the upper Chattahoochee River, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.’
    • ‘Still, we do have rivers, and one, the LaCrosse River, has been dammed, creating a recreational area, Lake Neshonoc.’
    • ‘We're hearing lots of discussion about plans to dam the inland rivers, to dam the Cooper Creek, for example.’
    • ‘A plan was announced to dam the Whanganui River, an action that would submerge several cemeteries and sacred sites.’
    • ‘The river Stour was dammed to create the main serpentine lake, which is overlooked by the circular Temple of Apollo, high on a hill.’
    obstruct, choke, bung up, close
    occlude
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Hold back or obstruct (something)
      ‘the closed lock gates dammed up the canal’
      • ‘Partick thought they had scored, but it was declared offside and it was never going to spark a comeback or probably even dam the flood of Livingston attacks.’
      • ‘His argument against ice dams was basically a uniformitarian one - there are no large modern lakes dammed by glaciers.’
      • ‘Em was beginning to think that nothing she could do would dam the flood or lighten the pressure that pinned her arms to her sides.’
      • ‘Rivers stopped flowing, dammed by the dead bodies that filled them.’
      • ‘They get into a mess trying to accommodate the ideal of sexual love that makes condoms questionable with the need to dam the flood of death.’
      • ‘Some of the lakes, dammed by the end/lateral moraine, have been expanded from ponds on the order of 100 m in length.’
      • ‘The European Union has adopted a general opt-in rule aimed at damming the flow of information.’
      • ‘I've been in situations where l felt very strongly for someone, but I knew there was no hope with them, so instead of just letting it go I dammed it all up.’
      • ‘If you picture it as water, you can feel where it flows and where it is dammed up or blocked.’
      • ‘By enclosing poetic invention - that, like witchcraft, might transform heroes into swine - James attempted to dam Scottish culture.’
      • ‘He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to dam the flow of tears.’
      • ‘You dam it up in one place, it flows somewhere else.’
      • ‘The debate is fundamentally an argument about the flow of immigrants and whether it behooves us to try and dam it off or absorb it.’
      • ‘The flood was dammed, the trickle diminished to a drop here and there as though someone had put a bend in the hose-pipe - which, I suppose, in computer terms, they had.’
      • ‘In valleys, the pollution is effectively dammed up.’
      • ‘By damming runoff, poor ridge layouts may aggravate surface drainage problems.’
      • ‘The guards had fallen back farther than he had hoped they would, and his rush from the chapel hadn't gotten here in time to dam the enemy up further back.’
      • ‘Back in the 1960s and 1970s there seemed to be an endless stream of talented youngsters at most Scottish clubs, but when street football was dammed the supply was reduced to a trickle.’
      • ‘Gavin noticed that I wasn't actually hanging in the waterfall, so he helpfully dammed it and periodically released a sudden four-second tidal wave to completely engulf me.’
      • ‘Not only did the ridge dam the flow of freshwater from the north; it also put an end to trade along the Puran River.’

Origin

Middle English: from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch; related to Dutch dam and German Damm, also to Old English fordemman close up.

Pronunciation:

dam

/dam/

Main definitions of dam in English

: dam1dam2dam3

dam2

noun

  • The female parent of an animal, especially a domestic mammal.

    • ‘Their incorporation into these pedigree herds as suckler dams or resale as in calf cows offers a very lucrative second-hand value.’
    • ‘However, the present study indicates Longhorns have a significant advantage in calving ease over Red Poll sires for dams calving at 2 yr of age.’
    • ‘Puppies can resemble the sire, the dam, or a combination of the parents or even a remote ancestor.’
    • ‘The greatest effect of scours was on young inbred dams; mature outcross dams had a lower incidence of scours.’
    • ‘Weaning BW is influenced by the growth potential of the sire and dam, the milk production of the dam, and the feed resources.’

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting a human mother): alteration of dame.

Pronunciation:

dam

/dam/

Main definitions of dam in English

: dam1dam2dam3

dam3

  • Decameter(s)

Pronunciation:

dam

/dam/