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Re: "clem"

Posted by ESC on April 25, 2002

In Reply to: "Clem" posted by Abby on April 25, 2002

: I was recently sent something that said "you are a clem." The person who said it was from England. I was wondering if anyone out there knew what this word means?

I'm not British so I have to rely on my references. There must be another meaning because the following doesn't seem to fit the term as used above. The British among us will have to help out on this one.

CLEMMED -- adj. British. starving, hungry. An old word which is a survival of northern dialect (from Middle English 'clemmen,' to pinch). It is still heard occasionally among older speakers (and, incidentally, in the TV soap opera 'Coronation Street.')" From "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (1999, Pantheon Books, New York)

CLEM -- "(U.S. equivalent) starve. As in clemmed for a snack. Dialect, favored by hoboes; common in rustic novels. Its use is considered by some to be chic." From "British English A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, HarperPerrennial edition, 1991)