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[ham-lit] /ˈhæm lɪt/
a small village.
British. a village without a church of its own, belonging to the parish of another village or town.
Origin of hamlet1
1300-50; Middle English hamelet < Middle French, equivalent to hamel (diminutive of ham < Germanic; see home) + -et -et
Synonym Study
1. See community.


[ham-lit] /ˈhæm lɪt/
noun, plural (especially collectively) hamlet (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) hamlets.
any of various sea basses of the family Serranidae, found in the warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, especially the Nassau grouper.
First recorded in 1950-55; origin obscure


[ham-lit] /ˈhæm lɪt/
(italics) a tragedy (first printed 1603) by Shakespeare.
the hero of this play, a young prince who avenges the murder of his father. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hamlet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Like hamlet with the king at the play, "If he but blench, I know my course!"

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Evidently the time for classifying the creator of hamlet is at hand.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • If he were more of a "candle-holder" and onlooker, he would more resemble hamlet.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • Jaques is only sketched in with light strokes, but all his traits are peculiarly hamlet's traits.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • For Shakespeare must have painted this second hamlet unconsciously.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for hamlet


a small village or group of houses
(in Britain) a village without its own church
Word Origin
C14: from Old French hamelet, diminutive of hamel, from ham, of Germanic origin; compare Old English hamm plot of pasture, Low German hamm enclosed land; see home
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hamlet

early 14c., from Old French hamelet, diminutive of hamel "village," itself a diminutive of ham "village," from Frankish *haim (see home). Especially a village without a church.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hamlet in Culture

Hamlet definition

A tragedy by William Shakespeare. The king of Denmark has been murdered by his brother, Claudius, who then becomes king and marries the dead king's widow. The ghost of the dead king visits his son, Prince Hamlet, and urges him to avenge the murder. In the course of the play, Hamlet, a scholar, slowly convinces himself that he must murder Claudius. The play ends with a duel between Hamlet and the courtier Laertes, and the death by poison of all the principal characters.

Note: The character Hamlet has come to symbolize a person whose thoughtful nature is an obstacle to quick and decisive action.
Note: Hamlet, Shakespeare's longest play, contains several soliloquies — speeches in which Hamlet, alone, speaks his thoughts. Many lines from the play are very familiar, such as “Alas, poor Yorick!”; “Frailty, thy name is woman!”; “Get thee to a nunnery”; “The lady doth protest too much”; “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio”; “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”; “There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow”; “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”; andTo be, or not to be: that is the question.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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