(noun) edible tuberous root of various yam plants of the genus Dioscorea grown in the tropics world-wide for food


(noun) sweet potato with deep orange flesh that remains moist when baked

yam, yam plant

(noun) any of a number of tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea many having edible tuberous roots


(noun) edible tuber of any of several yams

Source: WordNet® 3.1

Etymology 1


yam (plural yams)

Any climbing vine of the genus Dioscorea in the Eastern and Western hemispheres, usually cultivated.

The edible, starchy, tuberous root of that plant, a tropical staple food.

(US) A sweet potato; a tuber from the species Ipomoea batatas.

(Scotland) Potato.

(NZ) A oca; a tuber from the species Oxalis tuberosa.

(Malaysia, Singapore) Taro.

An orange-brown colour, like the flesh of the yam.

Usage notes

Careful use distinguishes yams (genus Dioscorea) from sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas), while casual American use conflates these.

Etymology 2


yam (plural yams)

(regional, Cumberland) home

Etymology 3



Eye dialect spelling of am.


• Amy, MYA, May, Mya, may, mya


Proper noun

Yam (plural Yams)

A surname.


• According to the 2010 United States Census, Yam is the 16041st most common surname in the United States, belonging to 1808 individuals. Yam is most common among Asian/Pacific Islander (81.75%) individuals.


• Amy, MYA, May, Mya, may, mya

Source: Wiktionary

Yam, n. Etym: [Pg. inhame, probably from some native name.] (Bot.)

Definition: 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 D. sativa, but several others are cultivated. 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.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


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