Definition of tame in English:

tame

adjective

  • 1(of an animal) not dangerous or frightened of people; domesticated.

    ‘the fish are so tame you have to push them away from your face mask’
    • ‘Almost every other tame creature - from the dog to the horse - came to our homes under very specific circumstances, unlike the cat.’
    • ‘One internet site agrees, declaring the animals to be ‘noble and tame dogs with the family, but distrustful of strangers’.’
    • ‘He said that it must be remembered that elephants are not naturally tame.’
    • ‘The mother cat's quite tame and not very old herself, and the kittens are probably around 5-6 weeks old.’
    • ‘A tiny multicoloured parrot flew from shoulder to shoulder to peer at us inquisitively, while a small tame monkey searched for fleas in our hair.’
    • ‘She's a very tame beast, and she accepts the bit well as long as you ride her smoothly.’
    • ‘Be aware that injured animals, even tame pets will bite savagely if given a chance.’
    • ‘I had to feed the chooks each night, help with making the butter and look after our tame pig.’
    • ‘If an animal is domesticated or tame, there would be lesser reason to fear that such an animal would pose a threat to the public.’
    • ‘A few tame lambs scamper around, probably bottle fed, and a single donkey nibbles at the grass among the goat-hair tents.’
    • ‘Instead of importing tame pigs, people from several different countries domesticated the animals themselves.’
    • ‘The 1911 Protection of Animals Act prohibits the hunting of tame or domestic animals.’
    • ‘Although most of the park's lions are tame, lions are, after all, still lions.’
    • ‘I took her to the petting zoo, which has tame goats to pet.’
    • ‘He has never encountered any tame animals besides dogs.’
    • ‘Children enjoy the farm setting and the tame farm animals.’
    • ‘Thankfully the donkeys and cows were tame, and were easily chased out of camp if they got too close.’
    • ‘These efforts produced a relatively tame dog, able and willing to track and to hunt.’
    • ‘The wild creature was only tame under her hands.’
    • ‘You can make a good fist of doing it, but in the end you have to come to terms with the fact that you are not dealing with a tame beast.’
    domesticated, domestic, not wild, docile, tamed, disciplined, broken, broken-in, trained, not fierce, gentle, mild, used to humans
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    1. 1.1informal (of a person) willing to cooperate.
      • ‘Feigning a serious illness, he arranges for him to have a tame doctor prescribe an ocean voyage to Hawaii as a cure.’
      • ‘She's intending to visit again, with a sister in-tow, and possibly once more with a tame builder who will advise her on the practicability of extending the house.’
      • ‘On the other hand, religion makes brave valiant men meek tame and cowardly such that they refuse to shed blood even for their motherland.’
      • ‘So I think there are a number of people within the Met who are feeding information to what they regard as tame reporters.’
      • ‘After their initial statements, all of the parties kept a careful silence, with the complete acquiescence of a tame media.’
      • ‘Matthew, for a contract to be valid, there are actually lots of gritty details and for that reason it's sometimes not a bad idea to see a tame lawyer.’
      • ‘With a tame sister republic to the north, the Belgian departments were lightly garrisoned by troops not expecting to be used to keep domestic order.’
      • ‘The biotech companies and their tame scientists are using other people's poverty to engineer their own enrichment.’
      • ‘He used this to block his mother's attempts to re-examine his father with her own tame doctors.’
      • ‘Anyone with a tame doctor (which would be everyone I know) can get an excuse note for those.’
      • ‘It seems that they may not have expected to find that the man would be so tame and co-operative as to give them a free hand to engage in their business and flee the scene.’
      • ‘It takes all the fun out of it if people think you have a tame journalist rather than being able to command headlines on your own merits.’
      • ‘Reports in Shanghai's usually tame newspapers complained that journalists were barred from approaching the mine.’
      • ‘The newsroom became the home of the tame dissident and the compliant office holder.’
      • ‘But the public's current disillusionment with tame government scientists in the wake of BSE is high.’
      docile, submissive, compliant, meek, obedient, tractable, acquiescent, amenable, manageable, unresisting, passive, mild, subdued, under someone's control, under someone's thumb, suppressed, unassertive, ineffectual
      amenable, biddable, cooperative, available, willing
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  • 2derogatory Not exciting, adventurous, or controversial.

    ‘network TV on Saturday night is a pretty tame affair’
    • ‘But they were tame responses compared with those by Democrats.’
    • ‘Her parents had seemed responsible and tame, but they weren't.’
    • ‘But I realize that it was very tame advice today, but that for many people, it was still very, very, perfectly valid.’
    • ‘The festival in her honour was a tame affair until a few years ago.’
    • ‘An exciting experience then, but very tame compared with today's high-speed jet travel.’
    • ‘I responded rather half-heartedly with a fairly tame story from my past, and chucked her the names of a few people who I thought might be better suited.’
    • ‘I didn't like the bars and my social life was pretty tame and domestic.’
    • ‘It was a pretty tame affair compared to last year.’
    • ‘These films are really tame, innocent adventures, offering a real, if occasionally warped view of the South.’
    • ‘The subpoena hearing, which is normally a tame affair, was contentious because the music industry sees it as a test case.’
    • ‘But some think the story of a drowning marsh and a heart-warmingly functional Mormon family is too tame.’
    • ‘If you like village detective stories with a couple of murders - fine, but compared to today's stories they are so tame!’
    • ‘Meet and greets like this are usually pretty tame affairs.’
    • ‘On the pitch, the game was a much more tame affair.’
    • ‘Compared with the second half the opening half was a tame affair.’
    • ‘Overall it was a rather tame affair with no controversy on any subject.’
    • ‘There were only a few rapids and they were extremely tame.’
    • ‘By modern rock standards we were tame, but at the time, it was something new that people had never seen before.’
    • ‘Pretty tame by some people's standards, no doubt, but plenty of excitement for us.’
    • ‘Now I'm not a big fan of such parades, but this one sounds pretty tame even according to the people opposed to them.’
    unexciting, uninteresting, uninspired, uninspiring, dull, bland, flat, insipid, spiritless, pedestrian, vapid, lifeless, dead, colourless, run-of-the-mill, mediocre, ordinary, prosaic, humdrum, boring, tedious, tiresome, wearisome
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  • 3North American (of a plant) produced by cultivation.

    • ‘My family moved to this location about 3 years ago when there wasn't a single tame plant on the place.’
    • ‘Residual vegetation forming a matted mulch was likewise a determinant of nest density and success in tame plant communities, with smooth brome demonstrating greatest nest density.’
    • ‘I suspect that people haven't had enough practice with it as a tame plant to know its best habits and favorite conditions, though they're easy enough to see in the wild.’
    1. 3.1 (of land) cultivated.
      • ‘The traces of their times were left here even by citizens of the mighty Roman empire, who were encouraged to settle in this area by riches of nature, fertile land, forests and rivers, which were for centuries a magical attraction for people who settled on this tame land.’
      • ‘We want to have a nice combination of wild & tame land, where we can build up the soil of the ‘farm’ and also replenish trees, provide a habitat for wildlife, and generally be good stewards of this little plot of earth we've been blessed with.’
      • ‘But this time around caring for each individual needs was not that easy, and his once tame land started to grow unmanageable and wild.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Domesticate (an animal)

    ‘wild rabbits can be kept in captivity and eventually tamed’
    • ‘Villagers believe the shaman uses black magic to help tame the elephant and sever ties to the mother.’
    • ‘She shows him the quick sketch she has done of him lying on the grass smoking a cigar, and then takes out another sketch she made of him years ago, back home, taming a horse.’
    • ‘You will be able to tame a creature and keep it as a pet once you have reached a certain skill level and success rate with that particular mob.’
    • ‘Wild crops such as wheat and barley began to be cultivated, and wild animals such as sheep and goats were tamed and then domesticated.’
    • ‘On the other hand, terrestrial species are more often domesticated, while only a few marine species are tamed, mainly in zoos, dolphinaria or so called ‘Sea Worlds’.’
    • ‘When horses were tamed their first military use was in drawing light carts which served as shooting and fighting platforms.’
    • ‘Who was the Greek hero who tamed the winged horse Pegasus?’
    • ‘A tame animal does not pass that tameness onto its offspring; taming is not a heritable, genetic change, and there is no simple way to discover when a hominid first tamed another species.’
    • ‘The Asian elephant featured strongly in Buddhism and Brahminism and the elephants were tamed and domesticated to be able to be used efficiently.’
    • ‘Cockatiels make the most endearing, affectionate, responsive and easily tamed pets around.’
    • ‘Alexander's early potential is seen in his ability to tame wild horses (like Hector in The Illyiad).’
    • ‘One who would be inspired by the colours on my face and the changing season outside to make love to my hair and tame the wild beast that it is.’
    • ‘Some live out their circus fantasies by taming lions or elephants, but aerial acts combine macho cool and athletic grace.’
    • ‘She tamed the beast so she gets to keep it.’
    • ‘The whole population devoted their time to taming horses.’
    • ‘It was only after the Mongols tamed horses, yaks and camels that they took to a nomadic herding lifestyle.’
    • ‘He told her how much he loved horses, even taught her some tips on how to tame a wild horse that just got bridled from the wilderness.’
    • ‘If anyone's succeeded in taming their black dog, drop me a note sometime and let me know what worked for you.’
    • ‘Africans, for example, were criticized for not taming the elephant, which had proved so valuable in Asia.’
    • ‘It was rare that he got excited to the point of babbling about anything, but the thrill of catching and taming a wild horse was something she could easily understand.’
    domesticate, break, train, master, subdue, subjugate, bring to heel, enslave
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    1. 1.1 Make less powerful and easier to control.
      ‘the battle to tame inflation’
      • ‘A few drops of either product, worked through your hair, tames unruly strands and adds significant shine.’
      • ‘To support this she claims that women viewed it as hospitable and welcoming, not as something harsh or forbidding that needed to be tamed or overcome.’
      • ‘Although times are still tough there, inflation has been tamed and the foundation stones are in place for the country to transform itself in the run-up to joining the EU.’
      • ‘I was working on taming my out of control curly black hair, it wasn't going so well, I had given up on trying to blow dry it straight, so I just let it go.’
      • ‘Teaching can curb and tame an undisciplined enthusiasm.’
      • ‘Dab a little on your eyebrows to tame unruly hairs.’
      • ‘That's a major shift for the Fed, which has spent the last quarter-century trying to tame inflation and contain price increases.’
      • ‘But it may simply be naïve to think that any country can permanently tame the tiger of tribalism.’
      • ‘At 48, he is learning to tame his creative spirit and take on just a couple of projects at a time.’
      • ‘Her unruly teeth have been tamed into a neat, pearly, Californian smile, the parakeet spiked hair is now a glossy black mane.’
      • ‘Interest rates jump in an effort to tame inflation, the inevitable by-product of unrestrained spending.’
      • ‘Emotion, though we believe we can control it, is so volatile that is like taming the storm.’
      • ‘In these circumstances parliament, rather than being a mechanism by which mass pressure is applied against the ruling class, is a mechanism for taming the representatives of mass feeling.’
      • ‘But 25 years of European exile and a gradual mellowing of the spirit have tamed the Australian rocker's legendary excesses.’
      • ‘You don't throw rocks at the guy who's trying to tame the tiger.’
      • ‘Serum actually works very well in taming unruly strands.’
      • ‘Isn't it also about - or I should say, how do you avoid it being about mind over matter, you know, that old Western paradigm of the rational mind controlling or taming the body?’
      • ‘The last time police repression was used to tame the powerful Italian left was in the 1970s.’
      • ‘Will she be able to tame the unruly private bus drivers who often hold the city life to ransom and streamline the chaotic city traffic?’
      • ‘This is obviously much easier than traditional forms of meditation that took much practice and discipline to tame the mind.’
      subdue, curb, control, calm, master, bring to heel, tone down, water down, moderate, mitigate, tranquillize, overcome, discipline, suppress, repress, mollify, humble, cow, pacify, mellow, mute, temper, soften, bridle, get the better of, get a grip on
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Cultivate (land or wilderness)
      • ‘Slave labor offered a distinct advantage to those who sought to tame the wilderness for economic benefit.’
      • ‘Their economic activity based on their culture has largely been that they did tame land in the traditional sense of clearing and building expansive settlement that traditionally marked out a territory as belonging to a particular community.’
      • ‘As the family and others were taming land in the area, the great drought of 1863 hit, drying the San Antonio and Nueces rivers to a trickle.’
      • ‘Others, particularly foreign visitors, lamented the absence of the human hand responsible for transforming and taming the unruly wilderness.’
      • ‘Some of the land is tamed, but without man's constant intervention this would all be re-claimed by the bush and the game in pretty short order.’
      • ‘Has the land been tamed once it has been so marked?’
      • ‘He feels that the wild land has been tamed for the better.’
      • ‘In his notations and observations of the Arizona night sky did he ever imagine that a stark desert would be so intelligently tamed and transformed into a magnificent suburban idyll in less than a half a millennium?’
      • ‘The slopes rise gently and much of the wilderness has been tamed but none of the beauty eroded.’
      • ‘Almost all had nice gardens, the North African wilderness tamed into something of which she might have approved.’
      • ‘The tractors roared toward darkness, the land is tamed once again.’
      • ‘He points out the irony of British attachment to the purity of a countryside which, from the manicured fields of Hampshire to the grouse moors of the Highlands, has been twisted and tamed to suit human needs for thousands of years.’
      • ‘Despite the scattered pastures and tinkle of belled flocks, the area is not yet wholly tamed.’

Origin

Old English tam (adjective), temmian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tam and German zahm, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin domare and Greek daman ‘tame, subdue’.

Pronunciation

tame

/tām//teɪm/