Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nyam v.

also niam, nom
[var. on yam v.]

1. (orig. W.I.) to eat.

[WI]J.B. Moreton West India Customs and Manners 117: Me quite sorry mamma, Ise went in a bush to-day to do my -------, and Yellow Legs come, and he knaum my ----, and him puke.
[WI]Montgomery; or, The West Indian Adventurer II 91: Go n’yam with them.
[UK]C. Rampini Letters from Jamaica 165: Hope me may lib, fo nyam smo’ (to eat some more) to-marrow.
[WI]T. Banbury Jamaica Superstitions 41: You po fe meat, you nyam jungo.
[WI]J. Speirs Proverbs of British Guiana 10: Alligatah nyam crapaud fo’ belly full, an’ duck fo’ sweet mout’.
[WI] ‘Annancy and Brother Tiger’ in W. Jekyll Jam. Song and Story 7: Yeshterday this time me a nyam Tiger fat.
[US]C. McKay ‘Flat-Foot Drill’ Constab Ballads 13: Fabour say you pick up nong, / Sence you nyamin’ Depôt fat.
[US](con. late 19C) A. Gonzales Black Border 33: ’E say suh him binnuh nyam de pyo’ cawn hom’ny.
[US]M. Beckwith Jamaica Proverbs (1970) 18: Because parrot mek noise, dem say a him one nyam banana.
[WI]L. Bennett ‘Wat A Dicans’ in Jam. Dialect Poems 46: No cry Miss Lou, we nyam de lime.
[WI]L. Bennett ‘Cheap Fare Day’ in Jamaica Dialect Verses 14: For ’ow yuh see me jus’ dun nyam, / An’ favah roasen bull.
[WI]Bennett, Clarke & Wilson Anancy Stories and Dialect Verse 23: Him nyam aff de whole a de cane dem.
[WI]L. Bennett Auntie Roachy Sey (2003) 150: If yuh no tie bad dog strong, him get weh den go nyam yuh supper.
[UK]T. Rhone Gloss. in Old Story Time (1981) n.p.: nyam: eat.
[UK]V. Bloom ‘Easta Bun’ in Touch Mi, Tell Mi 35: De bun dem still di deh / A wait fi a brave smaddy nyam dem.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 86: We can link up an nyam somting.
‘Robbo Ranks’ on 1Xtra 28 Apr. [BBC radio] Take your Grammy and nyam it.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. 2011 8: NOM — eat.

2. (orig. W.I.) to taste.

[WI] ‘Linstead Market’ in T. Murray Folk Songs of Jamaica 21: Rice and ackee nyam gran’.

3. (UK black) in fig. use, to attack, to arrest.

[UK]T. Rhone Smile Orange Act II: As soon as something goes wrong, a little slip-up, we start nyam up each other.
[UK]Smiley Culture ‘Cockney Translation’ [lyrics] Say we get nyam while cockney get capture.
[UK]Observer 10 Mar. 13: Mans there know they can’t make a load of money and then go hang around in the same corners that they used to because people ar gonna wanna nyam you for that.

In compounds

nyam dog (n.) [SE dog; the Chinese predilection for cooking dog]

(W.I.) a Chinese person.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).