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close as a clam

Safe from harm. Likened to a clam closing its shell to protect itself. All of the doors and windows are locked. Don't worry, we'll be close as a clam in here.
See also: clam, close

happy as a clam at high tide

Very joyful and content. Clams are dug at low tide, so a clam at high tide would be able to remain uncaught. Look at your sister out there! She's happy as a clam at high tide now that she's back in the starting lineup again. I know I'll be happy as a clam at high tide once I get this stupid cast off my leg.
See also: clam, happy, high, tide

clam up

To suddenly stop talking or refuse to speak, typically due to a particular reason. The phrase refers to a clam closing its shell. Naturally, everyone clammed up as soon as the check came. Our usual informant clammed up when he realized there was a mole in the department.
See also: clam, up

clam up

to say nothing. (Closing one's mouth in the way that a clam closes up.) The minute they got him in for questioning, he clammed up. You'll clam up if you know what's good for you.
See also: clam, up

*happy as a clam (at high tide)

 and *happy as a clam (in butter sauce); *happy as a lark; *happy as can be
contented; very happy. (*Also: as ~.) I've been as happy as a clam since I moved to the country. I don't need much. Just somewhere to live, some work to do, and a TV to watch, and I'm happy as a clam at high tide. Matthew was happy as a lark throughout his whole vacation. Bob was happy as can be when he won the lottery.
See also: clam, happy

clam up

to refuse to talk or answer Every time I think he's going to tell me what's bothering him, he just clams up.
Etymology: based on the behavior of a clam (a sea creature), which quickly closes its shell when something touches it
See also: clam, up

(as) happy as a clam

very happy I am happy as a clam living all by myself in this little house by the sea.
Etymology: based on the full form of the phrase happy as a clam in mud at high tide (a clam that cannot be dug up and eaten, which therefore could be considered happy)
See also: clam, happy

be as happy as Larry/a sandboy

  (British & Australian) also be as happy as a clam (American)
to be very happy and to have no worries We married nine days after we met, and three years on we're happy as Larry. Since he's been at college he's as happy as a clam.
See also: happy, Larry, sandboy

shut up like a clam

to suddenly stop talking and to refuse to say any more
Usage notes: A clam is a fish with a shell which closes up very quickly if something attacks it.
When I asked him about his trip to Korea, he shut up like a clam.
See also: clam, like, shut, up

clam up

Refuse to talk or respond, as in Whenever she asks her teenager about his activities, he clams up. This term alludes to the tightly closed valves of a live clam. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: clam, up

happy as the day is long

Also, happy as a lark; happy as a clam (at high tide). Extremely glad, delighted, very cheerful, as in He was happy as the day is long, or When she heard the news she was happy as a lark, or Once I got the test results I was happy as a clam at high tide. The first of these similes dates from the late 1700s. The second alludes to the lark's beautiful, seemingly very happy, song. The third, from the early 1800s, alludes to the fact that clams can only be dug at low tide and therefore are safe at high tide; it is often shortened to happy as a clam.
See also: happy, long

clam up

v. Slang
To refuse to talk or to stop talking suddenly: The politician clammed up when the reporters started to ask about the scandal.
See also: clam, up


1. n. a dollar. (Underworld.) You got a couple of clams I can bum for a little bottle?
2. n. a tight-lipped person. Suddenly, she became a clam and wouldn’t talk anymore.

clam up

in. to get quiet. (see also dummy up.) The minute they got him inside the cop-shop, he clammed up.
See also: clam, up
References in periodicals archive ?
Donax gouldii was studied intensively for 17 years by Coe (1955), who found that bean clams have extreme fluctuations in population densities.
Most black clams are taken in salinity zones from 2 to 10 ppt (Ravindran et al.
Talk with anyone who checks the fall and spring tides for the best clam action (good minus tides are best) and you will quickly uncover deep passions.
But for most of their history in Italy, clams were considered far from haut cuisine.
BEST CLAM CHOWDER, LANE COUNTY COAST Seafood Station Where: 1136 Highway 101, Florence
According to the most recent assessments by University of Florida researchers, sales of cultured hard clams in 2012 topped $39 million and the overall economic impact of clam farming is listed as roughly $53 million-nearly double that of Florida's better-known oyster industry.
Waterways Ireland's Eanna Rowe said: "The clams have been breeding rapidly, but once we remove them from the test area, they will be sent to the Environmental Protection Agency and then destroyed.
Last year, Goff and colleagues reported that clams weren't infected with a retrovirus, but they did carry a retroelement called Steamer.
Electro-pulse fishing uses a current to stun razor clams from the seabed.
Matlaw's Gourmet Stuffed Clams deliver a hearty portion that can be made easily into a satisfying and delicious seafood meal in minutes.
so: don't kill clams, but it's OK to keep killing rats and