AskDefine | Define yam

The Collaborative Dictionary

Yam \Yam\ (y[a^]m), n. [Pg. inhame, probably from some native name.]
(Bot.) A large, esculent, farinaceous tuber of various climbing plants of the genus Dioscorea; also, the plants themselves. Mostly natives of warm climates. The plants have netted-veined, petioled leaves, and pods with three broad wings. The commonest species is Dioscorea sativa, but several others are cultivated. [1913 Webster]
(Bot.) Any one of several cultural varieties of the sweet potato. [U. S.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Chinese yam, a plant (Dioscorea Batatas) with a long and slender tuber, hardier than most of the other species. Wild yam. (a) A common plant (Dioscorea villosa) of the Eastern United States, having a hard and knotty rootstock. (b) An orchidaceous plant (Gastrodia sesamoides) of Australia and Tasmania. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 edible tuber of any of several yams
2 any of a number of tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea many having edible tuberous roots [syn: yam plant]
3 sweet potato with deep orange flesh that remains moist when baked
4 edible tuberous root of various yam plants of the genus Dioscorea grown in the tropics world-wide for food



From inhame and ñame, possibly from the nyami. The term was coined in 1657.



  1. The edible, starchy, tuberous root of any climbing vine of the genus Dioscorea, usually cultivated in the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
  2. In the context of "Southern|_|US}} A sweet potato.
Yam may refer to:
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