March 15, 2019
ham (noun)
\HAM\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a buttock with its associated thigh -- usually used in plural2 : a cut of meat consisting of a thigh; especially : one from a hog3 a : an unskillful but showy performer b : an operator of an amateur radio station
How do you use it?
As usual, Uncle Dave was a complete ham at the party, doing impersonations that were so bad we couldn't help but laugh.
Are you a word wiz?

As you can see, "ham" has a wide variety of meanings. What do you think influenced the creation of the "performer" sense of "ham"?

Do you know the old song called "The Ham-fat Man"? Probably not, but you know its descendant, the "showy performer" sense of "ham." The song was about a bad actor, and it gave rise to another word, "hamfatter," which referred to an inexperienced actor or performer. "Hamfatter" was later shortened to "ham." You are probably wondering about the "amateur radio operator" sense of "ham" -- did that have to do with "The Ham-fat Man," too? Not at all. By the time that sense came into use, the "unskillful performer" sense was well in use and was just applied to the amateur radio station operators.
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