ham

1
[ ham ]
/ hæm /
|

noun

a cut of meat from the heavy-muscled part of a hog's rear quarter, between hip and hock, usually cured.
that part of a hog's hind leg.
the part of the leg back of the knee.
Often hams. the back of the thigh, or the thigh and the buttock together.

Nearby words

  1. halvers,
  2. halves,
  3. halyard,
  4. halysites,
  5. halévy,
  6. ham up,
  7. ham's test,
  8. ham-fisted,
  9. ham-handed,
  10. hama

Origin of ham

1
before 1000; Middle English hamme, Old English hamm bend of the knee; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German hamme, Old High German hamma; akin to Old Norse hǫm buttock; perhaps akin to Greek knḗmē shin, Old Irish cnáim bone

ham

2
[ ham ]
/ hæm /

noun

an actor or performer who overacts.
an operator of an amateur radio station.

verb (used with or without object), hammed, ham·ming.

to act with exaggerated expression of emotion; overact.

Origin of ham

2
1880–85; short for hamfatter, after The Hamfat Man, a black minstrel song celebrating an awkward man

Ham

[ ham ]
/ hæm /

noun

the second son of Noah, Gen. 10:1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hams


British Dictionary definitions for hams

ham

1
/ (hæm) /

noun

the part of the hindquarters of a pig or similar animal between the hock and the hip
the meat of this part, esp when salted or smoked
informal
  1. the back of the leg above the knee
  2. the space or area behind the knee
needlework a cushion used for moulding curves

Word Origin for ham

Old English hamm; related to Old High German hamma haunch, Old Irish cnāim bone, camm bent, Latin camur bent

ham

2
/ (hæm) /

noun

theatre informal
  1. an actor who overacts or relies on stock gestures or mannerisms
  2. overacting or clumsy acting
  3. (as modifier)a ham actor
informal
  1. a licensed amateur radio operator
  2. (as modifier)a ham licence

verb hams, hamming or hammed

informal to overact

Word Origin for ham

C19: special use of ham 1; in some senses probably influenced by amateur

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

Word Origin and History for hams
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for hams

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.

Note

Egypt (see also Egypt) was traditionally called “the Land of Ham,” and Ham was considered to be the ancestor of the Egyptians and of all African peoples south of Egypt.

Note

The “curse of Ham” refers to the biblical story in which Ham, seeing his father drunk and naked, refused to turn away as his two brothers did. When Noah awoke, he cursed Ham and his son Canaan, supposedly causing a darker pigmentation in their descendants. This so-called curse has often been wrongly used to justify racism.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.