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[ham-bohn] /ˈhæmˌboʊn/
noun, Theater.
(especially in vaudeville) a performer made up in blackface and using a stereotyped black dialect.
Origin of hambone
1850-55; ham1 + bone; cf. ham2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hambone
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Historical Examples
  • They'd rather fight en a yaller dawg likes fo' to worry a hambone.

    Isle o' Dreams Frederick F. Moore
  • Our glee was positively fiendish next day when watching hambone wriggling uneasily in his clothes at parade.

    S.O.S. Stand to! Reginald Grant
  • The first thing hambone did was to go to the back of the wagon for the jar.

    S.O.S. Stand to! Reginald Grant
  • Reynolds did as directed and hambone ducked for cover and the wagon stood stock still.

    S.O.S. Stand to! Reginald Grant
  • A minute or two elapsed and no explosion taking place, hambone rejoined the wagon and the party proceeded.

    S.O.S. Stand to! Reginald Grant
Word Origin and History for hambone

1855, "bone of a ham," from ham (n.1) + bone (n.). Meaning "inferior actor or performer" is from 1893, an elaboration of ham (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hambone



: The night's most ebullient winner was Finkel, who plays the hambone attorney


A person who fancies himself an actor; histrionic self-advertiser; ham: Every hambone from the deep sticks was constrained to make a speech for the benefit of the cameras (1893+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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