There are 3 main definitions of ham in English:

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ham1

Syllabification: ham

noun

1Meat from the upper part of a pig’s leg salted and dried or smoked: thin slices of ham a honey-baked ham
More example sentences
  • He rolls out lasagne sheets using a broom handle, and creates a ragu with minced meat and tomatoes, creamy béchamel sauce, cooked ham, Parmesan and mozzarella.
  • Serve with salad, gherkins and cold sliced cured meats and ham.
  • This includes luncheon meats and smoked ham which are cured or contain preservatives.
2 (hams) The backs of the thighs or the thighs and buttocks: he squatted down on his hams
More example sentences
  • Walking lunges are excellent for sculpting your glutes, hams, quads and adductor muscles, but finding an open path in the gym can be a problem.
  • Try a variety of stretches to hit your glutes, hams, quads and adductors.
  • When you begin to feel a stretch through your hamstrings, focus on using your glutes and hams to rise back up to the start position.

Origin

Old English ham, hom (originally denoting the back of the knee), from a Germanic base meaning 'be crooked'. In the late 15th century the term came to denote the back of the thigh, hence the thigh or hock of an animal.

More
  • It is unlikely that ham actors get their name from salted meat. The word meaning ‘an excessively theatrical actor’ arose in the USA in the late 19th century and may be based on amateur, although hamfatter was also used at this time to mean ‘an inexpert performer’—the ‘ham’ connection could be from the idea of being ‘ham-fisted’. The radio ham or amateur radio enthusiast appeared in the early 20th century. The word ham goes back to an ancient root meaning ‘to be crooked’. The earliest sense was ‘the back of the knee’, but in the 15th century people began to apply it to the back of the thigh, or the thigh and buttocks, and from there to the thigh and hock of an animal used as food. Hamster (early 17th century) is unconnected. It is a German word—odd, as the hamster is found from central Europe through Asia to China, but not in Germany. Odder still is the fact that the German word's origin means ‘corn weevil’, a kind of beetle.

Words that rhyme with ham

am, Amsterdam, Assam, Bram, cam, cham, cheongsam, clam, cram, dam, damn, drachm, dram, exam, femme, flam, gam, glam, gram, jam, jamb, lam, lamb, mam, mesdames, Omar Khayyám, Pam, pram, pro-am, ram, Sam, scam, scram, sham, Siam, slam, Spam, swam, tam, tram, Vietnam, wham, yam

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There are 3 main definitions of ham in English:

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ham2

Syllabification: ham

noun

1An excessively theatrical actor: nobody gets to emote more than a ham on the witness stand
More example sentences
  • They are peachy roles, and have been given to many ham actors to shine in: but David is a master, and brings to his Polonius what one imagines is a perfect expression of the intention behind the part.
  • Now he appears like a ham actor who is starting to believe his press agent.
  • He's a ham actor wearing caricature expressions: petulance, fury, arrogance, dismay.
1.1Excessively theatrical acting.
Example sentences
  • The acting was pure ham, but then it is in every kids or ‘family’ film.
  • The script of sand and fog is more like it, not to mention the acting of ham and funny accents.
  • He is as diabolic as he is over-the-top - call it deviled ham.
2 informal An amateur radio operator.
Example sentences
  • Tony had registered n7qvc.com because he's a keen radio ham and his call sign is - you guessed it - n7qvc.
  • Mr Ogg was a member of the exclusive International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts, an enthusiastic radio ham and a painter.
  • He used a local radio ham called Roy Evans in a tiny radio shack in Great Bends to keep in touch.

verb (hams, hamming, hammed)

[no object] informal Back to top  
Overact: he was hamming it up, doing all the voices and the effects
More example sentences
  • One person's hamming up is another man's dramatic device and yet another man's (well, probably the same man's) way of getting the thing paid for and distributed.
  • When we got there, we found several young men lounging in and on the clothes, eating bread by the loaves some other team had handed out, hamming for my trusty Contax.
  • When your favourite serial gets intolerably depressing you can switch channels and watch Cyrus hamming on MTV.

Origin

late 19th century: perhaps from the first syllable of amateur; compare with the slang term hamfatter 'inexpert performer.' (sense 2) of the noun) dates from the early 20th century.

More
  • It is unlikely that ham actors get their name from salted meat. The word meaning ‘an excessively theatrical actor’ arose in the USA in the late 19th century and may be based on amateur, although hamfatter was also used at this time to mean ‘an inexpert performer’—the ‘ham’ connection could be from the idea of being ‘ham-fisted’. The radio ham or amateur radio enthusiast appeared in the early 20th century. The word ham goes back to an ancient root meaning ‘to be crooked’. The earliest sense was ‘the back of the knee’, but in the 15th century people began to apply it to the back of the thigh, or the thigh and buttocks, and from there to the thigh and hock of an animal used as food. Hamster (early 17th century) is unconnected. It is a German word—odd, as the hamster is found from central Europe through Asia to China, but not in Germany. Odder still is the fact that the German word's origin means ‘corn weevil’, a kind of beetle.

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There are 3 main definitions of ham in English:

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Ham3

Syllabification: Ham
(In the Bible) a son of Noah (Gen. 10:1), traditional ancestor of the Hamites.

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