ham it up

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1. The thigh of the hind leg of certain animals, especially a hog.
2. A cut of meat from the thigh of a hog, often cured by salting or smoking.
3. The back of the knee.
4. The back of the thigh.
5. hams The buttocks.
6. A performer who overacts or exaggerates.
7. A licensed amateur radio operator.
v. hammed, ham·ming, hams
To exaggerate or overdo a dramatic role; overact.
To exaggerate or overdo (a dramatic role, for example).
ham it up
To act or perform in an exaggerated, often intentionally broadly humorous or ridiculous style.

[Middle English hamme, from Old English hamm. Noun, sense 6, from obsolete slang hamfatter, a poor or amateurish actor, from the song "The Ham-Fat Man" (1863), considered typical of minstrel shows and their low standards of performance and depicting a stereotyped vision of slave life in the American South (including a slave who likes gravy made from ham fat). Noun, sense 7, short for ham operator, originally applied in the 1800s to telegraphers with poor skills, from ham-fisted and ham-handed.]


In the Bible, a son of Noah and the brother of Japheth and Shem.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.ham it up - exaggerate one's acting
dramatic art, dramaturgy, theater, theatre, dramatics - the art of writing and producing plays
playact, roleplay, act, play - perform on a stage or theater; "She acts in this play"; "He acted in `Julius Caesar'"; "I played in `A Christmas Carol'"