A leg, especially in reference to the shapeliness of a woman's leg.
- ‘What better spokesperson for landmine awareness than a foxy mama with shapely gams?’
- ‘In Men with Arrows, a tousle-haired youngster ponders the cleavage and shapely gams of his young mom as she squats to pick up laundry; behind them hover images of an upscale tract home and a Mercury capsule parachuting into the sea.’
- ‘She sings and shows a lot of cleavage (well, as much as was allowed at the time) and a clinging black sequined gown accents her shapely gams.’
- ‘His gaze lowers and takes in her legs beneath the table, as gorgeous a set of gams as he's ever seen.’
Late 18th century: probably a variant of the heraldic term gamb, which denotes a charge representing an animal's leg, from Old Northern French gambe leg.
1rare A school of whales, porpoises, or dolphins.
- ‘Upon getting into a "gam" of whales, this boat, together with that of one of the mates, pulled for a single whale that was seen at a distance from the others, and succeeded in getting square up to their victim unperceived.’
2US dialect A social meeting or informal conversation (originally one among whalers at sea)
- ‘Crews normally visit each other during a gam, captains on one vessel and chief mates on the other.’
- ‘On the high seas, ships whose paths crossed held a gam, during which the men exchanged news, jokes, out-of-date periodicals, letters to be forwarded, and tales of the occasional bull sperm whale who head-butted his persecutors instead of dying quietly.’
Mid 19th century: origin uncertain; perhaps from dialect gam ‘game’ or shortened from gammon.