Definition of ham noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//hæm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hæm//
    Meat, Film people, People in theatre
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  1. 1 [countable, uncountable] the top part of a pig’s leg that has been cured (= preserved using salt or smoke) and is eaten as food; the meat from this The hams were cooked whole. a slice of ham a ham sandwich We had boiled ham on the bone for dinner. cold ham and salad compare bacon, gammon, pork See related entries: Meat
  2. 2[countable] a person who sends and receives radio messages as a hobby rather than as a job a radio ham
  3. 3[countable] (informal) (often used as an adjective) an actor who performs badly, especially by exaggerating emotions a ham actor See related entries: Film people, People in theatre
  4. 4[countable, usually plural] (informal) the back part of a person’s leg above the knee see also hamstring
  5. Word Originnoun sense 1 and noun sense 4 Old English ham, hom (originally denoting the back of the knee), from a Germanic base meaning ‘be crooked’. In the late 15th cent. the term came to denote the back of the thigh, hence the thigh or hock of an animal. noun senses 2 to 3 late 19th cent. (originally US): perhaps from the first syllable of amateur; compare with the US slang term hamfatter ‘inexpert performer’. Sense (2) dates from the early 20th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ham

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