What Does 'Ham' Mean? A Simple Guide To The Slang Internet Term Everyone's Using

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what does ham mean
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Have you ever gone ham?

The English language is full of words with multiple meanings: bark can be the outer covering of a tree, or the sound a dog makes. Nails can hang pictures, or sit on your fingers. And jam is a jelly-like substance and a verb, one which involves shoving things into a small space.

But when you add slang — and acronyms — to the mix, our vocabulary expands even more. In fact, the English language appears to know no bounds. And “ham” is no different.

It is a cut of meat, an acronym, an adjective, and an adverb. But what does ham mean exactly?


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Well, according to Urban Dictionary, the word — which has numerous meanings — can be used to describe “someone who enjoys the attention of others, and will do crazy things to get it.”

The true ham meaning is used to describe the act of “going ballistic on someone [and/or] flipping out.” It can be used to describe “a stage, screen or television actor who overacts” or “a person [who] is unstoppable/...in the zone in any type sport or competition setting.”

Ham can be used to describe “a woman's thighs, legs, or butt, [though the phrase] generally applies to the thighs [and] comes from the word ham, which is the thigh in a cut of pork.” And H.A.M., as an acronym, stands for “hard ass motherf*****s” — which is not necessarily a bad thing. (“Hard” can imply one is is tough, competitive, or resilient, depending on the context in which it is used.) 

That said, while ham, or H.A.M., is a relatively new term — its origins appear to be in the 21st Century — it may not be as new as you might think. In fact, Urban Dictionary has entries on the word dating back to 2008, which (for those keeping track) is ten years ago.


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So how does one embrace ham and use it in there day-to-day conversations? Well, because ham can mean different things, it can be used in a wide variety of ways, including:

  1. Yo, John is a H.A.M.

  2. Trisha needs to calm down. I’m about to go ham on her.

  3. Brian is such a ham when the camera is out. Seriously. He is all over the place.

  4. Did you watch the basketball game last night? Nick was ham AF.

  5. I don’t know what’s wrong with Misha but she is going ham on everyone today.

  6. Don’t doubt me. I am a H.A.M.

  7. Stacey has a smokin’ bod. I mean, have you seen her hams. They are thick as hell and sexy AF.

  8. Did you see Bill Shatner’s new flick? He was hamming it up.

Of course, these examples may not apply to your life. (I mean, how often do you really talk about William Shatner?) However, knowing how and when to incorporate words like “ham” into your vocabulary gives you, and your life, a whole new meaning.


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Nicole Lane is a wife, mother, writer, and regular contributor for YourTango. She is a staunch defender of women's rights, she believes firmly in equality and parity, and she is an advocate for women's health, mental health, and sexuality.

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