Green’s Dictionary of Slang

yam v.

[yam n. (1)]

to eat.

[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: yam to eat heartily, to stuff lustily.
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 35: Yam, to eat.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK] ‘Creoles of Jamaica’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 172: The Creoles yams them, and the Devil yams Creoles.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Disraeli Venetia I 151: She brought the knife to Plantagenet [...] saying ‘Yam, yam, gentry cove.’.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 273: yam to eat. This word is used by the lowest class all over the world; by the Wapping sailor, West Indian negro, or Chinese coolie.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[US]G. Davis Recoll. Sea-Wanderer 400: ‘Hi yah!’ exclaimed the astonished mandarin, ‘how can sickee man yam gun?’ (How can a sick man eat guns?).
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]D. Dalby ‘African element in American English’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 186: yam — ‘to eat.’.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 6: Can’t you stop at a chip shop or something? I ain’t had nothing to yam for hours.
[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 37: Good t’ing de goods weren’t reported, otherwise we’d be yamming oats for breakfast.

In phrases