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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hambone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The first thing hambone did was to go to the back of the wagon for the jar.

    S.O.S. Stand to! Reginald Grant
  • Our glee was positively fiendish next day when watching hambone wriggling uneasily in his clothes at parade.

    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
  • They'd rather fight en a yaller dawg likes fo' to worry a hambone.

    Isle o' Dreams Frederick F. Moore
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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