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ham2

[ham] /hæm/
noun
1.
an actor or performer who overacts.
2.
an operator of an amateur radio station.
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), hammed, hamming.
3.
to act with exaggerated expression of emotion; overact.
Idioms
4.
ham it up, to overact; ham.
Origin
1880-1885
1880-85; short for hamfatter, after The Hamfat Man, a black minstrel song celebrating an awkward man
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ham it up

ham1

/hæm/
noun
1.
the part of the hindquarters of a pig or similar animal between the hock and the hip
2.
the meat of this part, esp when salted or smoked
3.
(informal)
  1. the back of the leg above the knee
  2. the space or area behind the knee
4.
(needlework) a cushion used for moulding curves
Word Origin
Old English hamm; related to Old High German hamma haunch, Old Irish cnāim bone, camm bent, Latin camur bent

ham2

/hæm/
noun
1.
(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
2.
(informal)
  1. a licensed amateur radio operator
  2. (as modifier) a ham licence
verb hams, hamming, hammed
3.
(informal) to overact
Word Origin
C19: special use of ham1; 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
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Word Origin and History for ham it up

ham

n.

"meat of a hog's hind leg used for food," 1630s, from Old English hamm "hollow or bend of the knee," from Proto-Germanic *hamma- (cf. Old Norse höm, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch hamme, Old High German hamma), from PIE *konemo- "shin bone" (cf. Greek kneme "calf of the leg," Old Irish cnaim "bone"). Ham-fisted (1928) was originally in reference to pilots who were heavy on the controls, as was ham-handed (by 1918). With hammen ifalden "with folded hams" was a Middle English way of saying "kneeling."

"overacting inferior performer," 1882, American English, apparently a shortening of hamfatter (1880) "actor of low grade," said since at least 1889 to be from an old minstrel show song, "The Ham-fat Man" (1863). The song, a black-face number, has nothing to do with acting, so the connection must be with the quality of acting in minstrel shows, where the song was popular. Ham also had a sports slang sense of "incompetent pugilist" circa 1888, perhaps from ham-fisted. The notion of "amateurish" led to the sense of "amateur radio operator" (1919). The verb in the performance sense is first recorded 1933. As an adjective in this sense by 1935.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ham it up in Culture

Ham definition


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 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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for ham it up

ham 1

modifier

: a ham radio operator/ ham network

noun

An amateur radio operator

[1928+; fr amateur]


ham 2

modifier

: ham actor/ ham performance

noun
  1. An actor who overacts, dramatizes himself, emotes too broadly, etc: had been roasted by the critics as a ham/ Variety never referred to actors as ''hams'' (1882+)
  2. A person who uses overtheatrical and overly expressive airs and actions: Miss Moment was no doubt the biggest ham of a teacher (1940s+)
verb
  1. (also ham it up): The famous star was hamming all the way (1933+)
  2. (also ham it up): The prof strode into the lecture hall hamming and mugging (1940s+)

[fr ham-fatter]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for ham it up

HAM

Hamburg (Fuhlsbuttel) Airport
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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ham it up in the Bible

warm, hot, and hence the south; also an Egyptian word meaning "black", the youngest son of Noah (Gen. 5:32; comp. 9:22,24). The curse pronounced by Noah against Ham, properly against Canaan his fourth son, was accomplished when the Jews subsequently exterminated the Canaanites. One of the most important facts recorded in Gen. 10 is the foundation of the earliest monarchy in Babylonia by Nimrod the grandson of Ham (6, 8, 10). The primitive Babylonian empire was thus Hamitic, and of a cognate race with the primitive inhabitants of Arabia and of Ethiopia. (See ACCAD.) The race of Ham were the most energetic of all the descendants of Noah in the early times of the post-diluvian world.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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