Origin of ham1
Words nearby ham
Other definitions for ham (2 of 4)
Origin of ham2
Other definitions for ham (3 of 4)
Other definitions for ham (4 of 4)
Origin of HAM
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does ham mean?
To go ham is to put in an extraordinary, even aggressive, amount of effort. If you went crazy eating ham, you’d be going ham on some ham. In this sense, ham may stand for hard as a motherf****r.
Where does ham come from?
Hard has been used in hip-hop with a couple related meanings since the 1980s. If you do something with intensity, you do it hard. Rappers have been bragging about rolling and hustling hard since the 1980s. A person can also be hard, meaning they’re “tough.” In 1988, for example, Sir Mix-a-Lot bragged about being “born in the ghetto, hard as metal.” Q-Tip released a song titled “Go Hard” in 1999.
So, what if someone is (or goes) even harder than that? Then they might be hard as a motherf****r. An internet forum post from 1999 described Ice Cube as “hard as a motherf****r.” The phrase even found its way to at least one international hip-hop scene, as a 2003 book on Australian hip-hop said two local groups, Brethren and Def Wish Cast, “hit hard as a motherf****r.”
The acronym H.A.M. found widespread popularity in 2008. That January, Gucci Mane released “Go Ham on Em.” Later that year, Soulja Boy released his own song with the same title.
In 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West teamed up on “H*A*M,” where they bragged about going harder than anyone else in the game.
How is ham used in real life?
Going ham isn’t just for hip-hop stars anymore. Athletes, who also respect intensity and toughness, adopted ham. Deshaun Watson, an NFL quarterback, tweeted when he was in high school in 2012: “If I get a chance to play in a national championship game, Imma go ham.” In 2017, Watson did play in the NCAA national championship—and he did go ham.
If I get a chance to play in a national championship game, Imma go ham.
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) February 5, 2012
There’s also a sportswear brand named H.A.M. Even e-sports players can go ham. In 2015, a player of the game Heroes of the Storm was heard using the phrase on an ESPN2 broadcast.
Of course, you can go ham at anything you want, like say, dancing. Though the words ham stands in for may not be acceptable in polite society, ham itself isn’t considered offensive. In 2018, a Philadelphia news station used the term for a video of a pug and some pigs going ham on a pizza, showing just how mainstream the slang has come.
More examples of ham:
“With David Gordon Green’s Halloween set to premiere at this weekend’s Toronto International Film Festival, Blumhouse has unleashed a brutal new trailer — and we do mean brutal. Unlike the first trailer, this sneak peek finds Michael Myers going H.A.M. across Haddonfield, Illinois, terrorizing trick or treaters as he moves like a walking nightmare from within the shadows.”
—Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound, September, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use ham in a sentence
Thankfully, someone was there to capture this “jit going ham,” as the cameraman put it.Slow Motion Tiger Jump, a Tornado at the Rose Bowl and More Viral Videos|The Daily Beast Video|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Mister Ham in need of cash: That is something a lot of people will not believe.
And this week it was Mister Ham, General Delivery, United States.
“Maybe you need a good overcoat for Christmas,” Mister Ham was saying.
Nobody bothered to tell Mister Ham about it until the following August.
“Ham and eggs, dry toast and shrimps,” said the keen-eyed traveller in reply to the reiterated question.The Floating Light of the Goodwin Sands|R.M. Ballantyne
He reached over, with astonishing suddenness in one so bulky, and twirled the secretary about with his ham of a hand.Scattergood Baines|Clarence Budington Kelland
A pair of carvers, laid with my cover, tell me that I shall have to carve the ham which is here eaten with the chicken.
My host has before him a fine joint of beef, there are two chicken in front of my hostess, and I am placed opposite a boiled ham.
Every “biscuit” or “ham” has been cut in two to find out whether the native has loaded it in any way.The Wonder Book of Knowledge|Various
British Dictionary definitions for ham (1 of 2)
- the back of the leg above the knee
- the space or area behind the knee
Word Origin for ham
British Dictionary definitions for ham (2 of 2)
- an actor who overacts or relies on stock gestures or mannerisms
- overacting or clumsy acting
- (as modifier)a ham actor
- a licensed amateur radio operator
- (as modifier)a ham licence
Word Origin for ham
Cultural definitions for ham
One of the three sons of Noah. According to the biblical account, Noah and his family were the only human survivors of the great Flood and were therefore the progenitors of all the peoples on Earth.