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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Add the Canadian bacon or ham and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is nicely browned. Ellie Krieger, charlotteobserver, "Eggs in a hole, French edition," 12 June 2018 Foods that taste good at room temperature include: roasted or smoked meat, a turkey, ham or tenderloin. Rima Suqi, WSJ, "Holiday Entertaining Tips From the Party Planner to Presidents," 16 Nov. 2018 But the turkey and ham seemed more like meat sliced from a deli block, then fried greasy on the flat-top grill. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "52 Weeks of BBQ: Bun ’N’ Barrel," 1 June 2018 The early years of the festival were a lot of fun, Nichols recalled in 2004; the folks who worked at his restaurant would stay up half the night making sandwiches, and artists’ mothers would cook turkeys and hams for participants to share. Joy Wallace Dickinson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Famed Winter Park art show sprang from hometown talent," 18 Mar. 2018 The latest is BC Zhang, hawking Beijing-style crêpes stuffed with ham, beef and chicken. Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, "Bellevue lands a famous, big-name hot-pot spot and 42 other new openings around the Seattle area," 13 Feb. 2019 But the main ingredient of Spam has historically been pork shoulder, with ham added in. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "The Story of ‘Spam’: How a Mystery Meat Became an Inbox Invader," 24 Jan. 2019 Top with ham, then repeat layering of bread, milk, and cheddar. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "You Can Make This Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake Up to 24 Hours in Advance," 10 Dec. 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.

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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

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Learn More about ham

Dictionary Entries near ham

Halyikwamai

Halysites

Ham

ham

Hama

hamada

Hamad, Al

Statistics for ham

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ham

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

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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

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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

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