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be under (someone's) wing

To be protected, tutored, nurtured, or cared for by someone. I was nervous starting an internship at my uncle's company, but it definitely made it easier being under his wing. Our parents died when we were quite young, so my sister and I were under our grandmother's wing for most of our lives.
See also: wing


rude slang An abbreviation for "hard as a motherfucker." Usually used as an intensifier. We lost because the other team went HAM from the opening face-off to the final buzzer—and we sure didn't.


1. To be uncoordinated or clumsy with one's hands. My mother does beautiful calligraphy, but I'm so ham-fisted that I can barely hold the pen! No, I'm too ham-fisted to repair that delicate figurine.
2. Inept in one's personal interactions. Tommy is so ham-fisted that he'll never be able to mediate this situation.

ham it up

To perform with great (perhaps excessive) enthusiasm. Your daughter loves to ham it up for the camera—you might have a little actress on your hands!
See also: ham, up

ham something up

Fig. to make a performance seem silly by showing off or exaggerating one's part. (A show-off actor is known as a ham.) Come on, Bob. Don't ham it up! The play was going fine until Bob got out there and hammed up his part.
See also: ham, up

ham up

Exaggerate or overdo, especially with extravagant emotion, as in Hamming up the eulogy was disgraceful, especially since he didn't even know the deceased. It is also put as ham it up, meaning "overact," as in She loves to ham it up in front of the class. This idiom probably alludes to the hamfat (lard) used to remove stage makeup, mentioned in the minstrel song, "The Ham-Fat Man." From this hamfatter came to mean "an inexpert and flamboyant actor," and was in the late 1800s shortened to ham. The idiom here was first recorded in 1933.
See also: ham, up

ˌham it ˈup

(informal) (especially of actors) when people ham it up, they deliberately exaggerate their emotions or movements: When we realized we were being filmed, we all started behaving differently, hamming it up for the cameras.
A ham is an informal word for an actor who performs badly, especially by exaggerating emotions.
See also: ham, up


1. n. an actor; a bad actor. (see also hams.) What a ham! A real showoff.
2. n. an amateur radio operator. (A nickname.) My brother is a ham, and he helped a lot during the emergency.


mod. lacking dexterity; clumsy. If I wasn’t so ham-handed, I could probably fix the thing myself.


1. n. legs; hips. Her great hams extended over the sides of the chair.
2. n. the hamstring muscles. (Bodybuilding.) Can you think of any exercises that would be good for my hams?
See also: ham
References in classic literature ?
Trumbull's voice conveyed an emotional remonstrance-- "in having this kind of ham set on his table.
Some don't like so much sugar in their hams," said Mrs.
It meant--so far as Arnold was concerned--that a private conversation was about to diversify the monotony of the long Sunday evening at Ham Farm.
This time there were five pieces of ham ranged longitudinally on the plate, with one piece immediately under them at the center of the line.
Home I trudged to Ham with horrible forebodings, and back again to Richmond after breakfast next morning.
I felt how much better it was down at Ham, as I turned into our side street, and saw the flats looming like mountains, the chimney-pots hidden in the mist.
Here was a new excitement in which to drown my grief; here was something to think about; and I should be spared the intolerable experience of a solitary return to the little place at Ham.
The good-natured locksmith was still patting her on the back and applying such gentle restoratives, when a message arrived from Mrs Varden, making known to all whom it might concern, that she felt too much indisposed to rise after her great agitation and anxiety of the previous night; and therefore desired to be immediately accommodated with the little black teapot of strong mixed tea, a couple of rounds of buttered toast, a middling-sized dish of beef and ham cut thin, and the Protestant Manual in two volumes post octavo.
The ham sickened him, the bread seemed to turn to sand in his mouth.
He took a sprig or so of water-cress, and tried again; but the bread turned to a heavier sand than before, and the ham (though it was good enough of itself) seemed to blow a faint simoom of ham through the whole Marshalsea.
As if the difficulty were contagious, Young John soon pushed away his own plate, and fell to folding the cabbage-leaf that had contained the ham.
The lady of the caravan then bade him come up the steps likewise, but the drum proving an inconvenient table for two, they descended again, and sat upon the grass, where she handed down to them the tea-tray, the bread and butter, the knuckle of ham, and in short everything of which she had partaken herself, except the bottle which she had already embraced an opportunity of slipping into her pocket.
I wonder, thought I, if this can possibly be a part of his Ramadan; do they fast on their hams that way in his native island.
More than half of oil ham consumption is as port of a light meal.
Spoon some on top of ham at beginning of baking time and then during last 30 to 45 minutes.