gam (1) (gam),
a person's leg, esp. an
attractive female leg.
[1775–85; prob. < Polari
< It gamba leg; see
(gam), n., v.,
a herd or school of whales. 2. Eastern New Eng., Naut.
a social meeting, visit, or the like, as between whaling vessels at
(of whales) to assemble into a herd or school. 4. Naut.
(of the officers and crews of two whaling vessels) to visit or
converse with one another for social purposes. 5. Eastern
to participate in a gam or social visit.
[1840–50, Amer.; perh. dial. var. of
House Webster's Unabridged).
The two strangers discovered that they had a lot in common as they
gammed the hours away on the long train ride.
Back in the 1990's, some
Achenese were still very reticent to speak about
GAM and its vision, simply because it
might be viewed as being disloyal to the Indonesian establishment.
Rarely back then did people gam about
definitely not in public places. At that point, gamming about
how the Acheh government might look if GAM succeeded in its aims
was tantamount (equal to) almost being a member of GAM and actively
participating in military action. To this end, Indonesia enacted new
laws designed to denigrate the image of GAM, declared "war" and
instituted martial law. It also began targeting artists for their
lyrics and intimidating youths for having a gam even within
academic circles. To this day friends can not share their favorite
songs if there is a reference to GAM or to a referendum which would
promote freedom of speech. But, new
laws that make it so people can not say what they think have not and
never will solve the old, fundamental problems that have
precipitated the decades of deadly conflict that have existed between Acheh
and the government of Indonesia.
Taylor being Taylor, the
dance is not, as in many of the current popular tango entertainments,
a series of actual tangos. Rather, it is an extended riff on the whole
essence and idea of the tango -- not merely the form but what informs
the form. That is, heat, passion, aggression, seduction, betrayal,
desire, and even a touch of death, by means of the swoon and the dying
fall. Costumed in full garter-belt-and-black-stockings sleaze by Santo Loquasto, Taylor's women don't so much ham it up as
and glam it up, with a deeply vulgar and voluptuous plié
by Francie Huber the iconic center of the enterprise. The Taylor men,
deliciously sinister in their vestigial elements of Buenos Aires chic
(picture a black vest over a bare chest), go for broke here, throwing
elegance to the wings in favor of machismo. This is a particularly
great moment for the company, which -- like any longtime dance group
-- moves through various phases as dancers come, grow, and go.
—— Nancy Dalva & John Istel; 'Dance
and Theater'/Summer, When it Sizzles; the Atlantic;
What does the whaler do
when she meets another whaler in any sort of decent weather? She has a
Gam, a thing so utterly unknown to all other ships that they
never heard of the name even; and if by chance they should hear of it,
they only grin at it, and repeat gamesome stuff about spouters and
blubber-boilers, and such like pretty exclamations.---There is another
little item about Gamming which must not be forgotten here. All
professions have their own little peculiarities of detail; so has the
whale fishery. In a pirate, man-of-war, or slave ship, when the
captain is rowed anywhere in his boat, he always sits in the stern
sheets on a comfortable, sometimes cushioned seat there, and often
steers himself with a pretty little milliner's tiller decorated with
gay cords and ribbons. But the whale-boat has no seat astern, no sofa
of that sort whatever, and no tiller at all. High times indeed, if
whaling captains were wheeled about the water on castors like gouty
old aldermen in patent chairs. And as for a tiller, the whale-boat
never admits of any such effeminacy; and therefore as in gamming
a complete boat's crew must leave the ship, and hence as the boat
steerer or harpooneer is of the number, that subordinate is the
steersman upon the occasion, and the captain, having no place to sit
in, is pulled off to his visit all standing like a pine tree. And
often you will notice that being conscious of the eyes of the whole
visible world resting on him from the sides of the two ships, this
standing captain is all alive to the importance of sustaining his
dignity by maintaining his legs.
Dick, or, The Whale',
the Gam; World Wide School
Did you know? (Merriam-Webster)
"But what is a gam? You might wear out your index-finger running up
and down the columns of dictionaries, and never find the word." So
says the narrator, who calls himself Ishmael, of Herman Melville’s
Moby Dick. We imagine you are also wondering what a gam is, and
you’re in luck, for you will indeed find "gam" entered in dictionaries
today. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the noun
"gam" as "a visit or friendly conversation at sea or ashore especially
between whalers." (It can also mean "a school of whales.") Melville’s
narrator explains that when whaling ships met far out at sea, they
would hail one another and the crews would exchange visits and news.
English speakers have been using the word "gam" to refer to these and
similar social exchanges since the mid-19th century.
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