Word Confusion: Clamber versus Clamor

Posted June 23, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 20 August 2017

The “music” of clamber and clamor caught my attention and was not a word confusion in someone’s story. Yes, I do get interested in “confusions” for their own sake. It’s not always a writer!

In this case, a hiker may make a clamor as he clambers up a cliff — all that noise of rocks falling, as he scrambles up, using his hands and feet to make it to the top.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Clamber Clamor
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: clamor

Climbing wall in the UK

“A Climbing Wall” is assumed to be Gede77~commonswiki (based on copyright claims). It is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Three climbers clamber up this climbing wall.

A Cacerolazo versus Nicolás Maduro protest march in La Boyera Municipal of Hatilla in Miranda state in Venezuela

“Cacerolazo contra Maduro La Boyera”, 15 April 2013, is Veronidae’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

A clamor of a protest in Venezuela, 2013.

Part of Grammar:
Singular Noun; Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: clambers
Past tense or past participle: clambered
Gerund or present participle: clambering

Singular Noun 1; Verb, intransitive 1 & transitive 1, 2

Third person present verb: clamors
Past tense or past participle: clamored
Gerund or present participle: clamoring

[British] clamour

An awkward and laborious climb or movement

Usually followed by up, over, etc., to climb

Climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way, typically using both hands and feet

A loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting vehemently

  • A strongly expressed protest or demand, typically from a large number of people

Verb, intransitive:
[Of a group of people) shout loudly and insistently

  • Make a vehement protest or demand
  • Make a public demand

Verb, transitive:
To move, influence, or force by outcry

[Obsolete] To silence 2

It was a clamber up the cliff path.

I clambered out of the trench.

We clambered over the rocks along the seashore.

One of the men clambered to the top of the cabin.

The questions rose to a clamor.

There was the growing public clamor for more policemen on the beat.

A clamor outside woke them in the night.

The city streets were filled with a horrible clamor.

Verb, intransitive:
The surging crowds clamored for attention.

Scientists are clamoring for a ban on all chlorine substances.

The public clamored for his impeachment.

Verb, transitive:
The people clamored him out of office.

They clamored their demands at the meeting.

A crowd clamored outside Frankenstein’s castle.

Noun: clamberer Adjective: clamorous
Adverb: clamorously
Noun: clamorer, clamourer, clamorist, clamorousness
History of the Word:
Middle English and probably from clamb, an obsolete past tense of climb. 1 Late Middle English via Old French from the Latin clamor, from clamare meaning cry out.

2 1605-15 and is perhaps a spelling variant of clammer and an obsolete variant of clamber in the sense of to clutch, hence reduce to silence.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

Climbing up the Cliffs of Stora Dimun is EileenSanda’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.