Connotation of “Ram” vs “Cram”

By Maeve Maddox

Inspectors highlighted the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center, which was designed to hold 125 individuals but was crammed with 750 migrants on May 7 and 900 migrants the list below day– USA Today.
Bad economy leads to shelters stuffed with cats– Sky-Hi News [The Guggenheim Museum] Crammed with Famous Works!– Tripadvisor.
Not all these, laid in bed majestical, Can sleep so soundly as the wretched servant, Who, with a body filled and uninhabited mind, Gets him to rest, packed with worrisome bread;– Shakespeare, Henry V, IV, i.

ram: verb. to drive or require down or in by heavy blows.
cram: verb. to fill (a receptacle) with more than it effectively or conveniently holds, by force or compression.

Convinced that ram for cram was certainly a thing, my next location was the Ngram Viewer. There I saw substantial activity for “rammed full” dating from 1800. As helpful a tool as it is, the audience does not identify between changed significances. It is possible, nevertheless, to get an idea of when significances changed by speaking with the sources offered for different years.
The Oxford English Dictionary does have this example written by Lady Bury in 1840: “I always ram my clothes into a box,” but the Ngram sources I sought advice from utilized ram for such actions as using a ramrod to fill a gun or utilizing a hammer or other gadget to pound soil to make it firmer or to require a substance like sand into a cartridge or other industrial receptacle. The first uses of rammed in the sense of crammed that I kept in mind begin to occur in the 1990s.
Evidence that Im not the only one to question making use of ram in some contexts is the fact that, for a minimum of among my examples of” abuse,” the Spelling and Grammar function in Word flags “rammed” and recommends “stuffed.”.
Merriam-Websters ram entry offers crowd and pack as synonyms, however while these words are close in significance, they do not connote the sense of intense determination, anger, or violence that ram does.
The connotation of aggression and heavy pounding makes ram a popular metaphorical option in a political context:.

It will take the Senate only 10 hours to ram through the worst legislation in living memory.– The New Republic.
… even by Olis own requirements, picking to ram through regulations that have absolutely nothing to do with the handling of the existing Covid-19 outbreak– in the middle of a prolonged and unpredictable lockdown– is pushing it to a brand-new low.– The Kathmandu Post.
A year back, the Ohio legislature rammed through a law to conserve 4 unprofitable nuclear and coal-fired power plants from retirement, while it rolled back energy effectiveness and renewable targets and passed on the $1.3 billion expense to customers.– Mother Jones.

We scheduled the Catalina Island journey instead with the regional diving business. Much more unique and not rammed complete of tourist boats.– Tripadvisor remark
In theory Im fortunate with storage. I have a charming chest of drawers, another less lovely however perfectly functioning set of drawers and a big bookcase. All of course definitely rammed complete.– Personal blog
Online search engine Lands own Mobile SEO Search section is rammed filled with useful posts– everything from mobilegeddon to ranking elements and app indexing.– Personal blog site

Real, the action described by cram might consist of a certain quantity of requiring, but the distinction is that between pounding sand down a rat hole and mashing another T-shirt into a drawer.
As I constantly do when experiencing an usage that strikes me as odd, I searched to see if other writers were using ram in contexts that I believed called for cram.
To my surprise, I found a lot of examples. Here are three.

While searching the web looking for royalty-free graphics, I encountered a source described in this manner:
This website does not host one unappealing image, it is rammed complete with outstanding landscapes and breath-taking scenes of nature.
What? Certainly this blog writer suggested to state “packed full.” Certainly, no one else is puzzling the verb ram with the comparable verb cram, I thought.

The builder then rams the soil and clay mix to compress it.
The slumlord crams as lots of renters into an unit as possible.

Used transitively (with an object), the word that follows the verb identifies whatever is being rammed or stuffed.

When the designated meaning is “filled to overflowing,” crowded or crammed will do the job.If the intention is to recommend anger or intense determination, opt for rammed.

When used intransitively (no object) and followed by a prepositional expression, the preposition that follows ram in these examples is through. If you find yourself placing with after rammed, packed is most likely the better option.

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Much more unique and not rammed full of traveler boats. All of course absolutely rammed full. Convinced that ram for cram was certainly a thing, my next location was the Ngram Viewer. There I saw substantial activity for “rammed full” dating from 1800.

Undoubtedly, no one else is confusing the verb ram with the comparable verb cram, I thought.

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