I heard in a British show this line:

We cleared this place out before, but it's just rammed up again. (source)

The subtitles on Netflix also give "rammed up", but this phrase doesn't make sense to me stand-alone or in this context. "Ram" suggests a forceful collision or banging. "It (the place) has rammed up" sounds nonsensical. For a moment I thought it might be "ramped up", but it doesn't seem likely.

I've put up a link to the series on YouTube. What does "ram up" mean here?


Ram in this sense means to Cram or Stuff

So it is saying that they emptied the tenement once, but now it has been rammed/crammed/stuffed back in (full to bursting)

Source (click see more)

to cram; stuff:
They rammed the gag in his mouth.

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  • +1 The link you've provided doesn't seem to have this usage though. The meaning of the sentence seemed clear, but I had never heard rammed used this way. – Eddie Kal Jun 21 '19 at 12:31
  • @Eddie Kal it is there, you just need to click see more – Smock Jun 22 '19 at 12:08
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    Found it. I included that entry in your answer. Hope you don't mind. I still can't help but wonder if it is fair to assume this is predominantly a BrE usage. – Eddie Kal Jun 23 '19 at 18:48

Thanks to BrE speakers who have commented/written answers. I think it's now safe to say this sense of rammed as "crammed, packed" is indeed a Britishism. I couldn't find anything in dictionaries touching "rammed up", but there is one entry on "rammed":


very full or crowded:

On the trip back the train was rammed and I couldn't find a seat.
It's a beautiful city but it's rammed with tourists.

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  • It has nothing to do with UK English specifically. It's just as common in US English. – Jason Bassford Jun 21 '19 at 15:41
  • @JasonBassford Point taken about its occurrence in AmE, though I am not quite sure about "just as common". I went through every single indexed page from the first two pages of Google search results for "the room was rammed". Out of a total of 19 pages: 1 link rot; 1 book by a South African writer; 1 book by NK writer/UK translator; 1 social media account of someone seemingly based in NYC; 1 Australian news piece; and the rest appear to be of/from the UK, I count 14 give or take. – Eddie Kal Jun 21 '19 at 17:30
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    Interestingly "building is rammed up" (google.com/search?q="buliding+is+rammed+up") appears as lyrics in a song feat Busta Rhymes by Tiësto – Smock Jun 24 '19 at 11:18
  • @Smock Hmm, interesting. I looked it up, and the lines go "Everybody in the place stand up/And jump it, shake it, rush the club/Till the whole entire building is rammed up/And there’s nothing you can do to hold ‘em off". Sounds to me like the rapper is talking about bringing the house down rather than having the house packed. – Eddie Kal Jun 26 '19 at 3:22
  • @EddieKal Yes - I wonder if there's another meaning attached to specifically 'rammed up' as a phrase, as opposed to being rammed in the upwards/inwards direction. Although I still think the meaning in the OP is about being crammed in. – Smock Jun 26 '19 at 8:20

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