ham

noun (1)
\ ˈham How to pronounce ham (audio) \

Definition of ham

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the hollow of the knee
b : a buttock with its associated thigh usually used in plural
2 : a cut of meat consisting of a thigh especially : one from a hog

3 [ short for hamfatter, from "The Ham-fat Man," minstrel song ]

a : a showy performer especially : an actor performing in an exaggerated theatrical style
b : someone who enjoys performing and who tends to behave in an exaggerated or playful way when people are watching A bit of a ham, she's been collecting these one-liners for decades.— Elizabeth Rubin " … I was always sort of a ham. I talk a lot. I'm wild. I was always performing growing up … "— Pokey LaFarge
c : a licensed operator of an amateur radio station
4 : a cushion used especially by tailors for pressing curved areas of garments

ham

verb
hammed; hamming

Definition of ham (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to execute with exaggerated speech or gestures : overact ham it up for the camera

intransitive verb

: to overplay a part

Ham

noun (2)
\ ˈham How to pronounce Ham (audio) \

Definition of Ham (Entry 3 of 3)

: a son of Noah held to be the progenitor of the Egyptians, Nubians, and Canaanites

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ham

Noun (1)

ham adjective

Examples of ham in a Sentence

Noun (1)

We're having ham for dinner. He was once a fine actor, but now he's just an old ham. Cameras bring out the ham in her.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Specialties included ham and cheese croissant, shrimp etouffee, quiche Lorraine, macarons and beignets. Jennifer Mcclellan, azcentral, "Most shocking restaurant closings of the year in Phoenix ... so far," 5 July 2018 His croissant variations with almond paste, dark ribbons of Valrhona chocolate, and ham and cheese layered with creamy béchamel are particularly great. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "The best croissants in Philadelphia | Craig LaBan," 19 June 2018 Southern mothers The Asbury, 235 N. Tryon St.: Regular brunch menu, including pimento cheese omelets and the Southern Benedict (country ham and pimento cheese gravy). Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "What are you doing for Mother's Day? Here are 26 of Charlotte's best spots for brunch | Charlotte Observer," 18 Apr. 2018 Asparagus, peas, ham and Swiss cheese make up the filling for these vegetable empanadas. Ellise Pierce, star-telegram, "Bridge the gap between seasons with recipes that satisfy both light and hearty appetites | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 5 Mar. 2018 In the days following, Hameister received support from well-wishers all over the world, and her ham and cheese clap back has gone viral. Blake Bakkila, Health.com, "Sexist Trolls Told This Record-Breaking Teen Skier to “Make Me a Sandwich”—So She Fired Back," 30 Jan. 2018 The wontons are ample in size and the cheese makes a bigger statement than the ham. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Review: Italian-American food at Come Back Inn is indulgent, rich and cheesy," 17 Jan. 2018 An example of this is the speck ham and gruyere panini. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, RedEye Chicago, "The world's first official Nutella cafe is opening in Chicago," 19 May 2017 Breakfast with Santa, Poulsbo SUN Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, beverages, 9 a.m. Sunday, Sons of Norway, 18891 Front St. N.E., Poulsbo; $7-$10 (360-779-5209 or poulsbosonsofnorway.com). Peruvian Dinner Cooking Class DEC. Madeline Mckenzie, The Seattle Times, "Community calendar: Ballard Holiday Fest, Museum First Thursday and more," 28 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Frances McDormand McDormand was an absolute delight on the carpet, writhing around and hamming it up in her similarly bizarre-but-brilliant Valentino look. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Met Gala 2018: The most extra celebrity looks, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Katy Perry," 8 May 2018 Those figures suggest Chuying isn’t hamming this up. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Buy a Bond in China, Get Some Pork in Return," 9 Nov. 2018 Residents are urged to plan ahead and take precaution in the event of a fast-moving storm suddenly hamming the area. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis weather: Heat advisory in effect for 4th of July," 2 July 2018 Photo: muhammad hamed/Reuters Complete details of Friday’s agreement were unclear, including whether Russian or Syrian forces controlled the border. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Syrian Regime Takes Key Border Crossing as More Rebel Towns Surrender," 6 July 2018 Decked out in black, the couple hammed it up for the photo crew, throwing in some surprise kisses as the cameras flashed. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Ashlee Simpson Ross & Evan Ross Hit the Billboard Music Awards Red Carpet in Style," 20 May 2018 Always ready to ham it up, BTS hung backstage with Taylor Swift, Lil Pump, Pharrell Williams and John Legend -- effortlessly charming all of them! Morgan Enos, Billboard, "BTS at the BBMAs: Their 9 Most Memorable Moments Onstage and Off," 21 May 2018 First stop: the Preacher, aka Chris Webber, hamming it up quite impressively as an actual preacher who sounds something like James Brown. Jocelyn Noveck, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Uncle Drew’ has a predictable game plan," 28 June 2018 In a scene reminiscent of two gigantic TV wrestlers grappling for holds, the prehistoric beasts grunt, puff and ham it up for all the world like Gorgeous George and Man Mountain Dean. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "'King Kong vs. Godzilla': THR's 1963 Review," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ham.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ham

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1933, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ham

Noun (1)

Middle English hamme, from Old English hamm; akin to Old High German hamma ham, Greek knēmē shinbone, Old Irish cnáim bone

Noun (2)

Hebrew

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ham

Dictionary Entries near ham

halyard

Halyikwamai

Halysites

ham

Ham

Hama

hamada

Statistics for ham

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ham

The first known use of ham was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ham

ham

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ham

: meat from the leg of a hog that is often prepared by smoking or salting
disapproving : a bad actor who performs in an exaggerated way
: someone who enjoys performing and who tends to behave in an exaggerated or playful way when people are watching

ham

noun
\ ˈham How to pronounce ham (audio) \

Kids Definition of ham

1 : a cut of meat consisting of a thigh of pork
2 : an operator of an amateur radio station
3 : a showy performer I know she likes attention, but what a ham!

ham

noun
\ ˈham How to pronounce ham (audio) \

Medical Definition of ham

1 : the part of the leg behind the knee : the hollow of the knee : popliteal space
2 : a buttock with its associated thigh or with the posterior part of a thigh usually used in plural
3 : a hock or the hinder part of a hock

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ham

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ham

Spanish Central: Translation of ham

Nglish: Translation of ham for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ham for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ham

Comments on ham

What made you want to look up ham? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!