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be under (one's) wing

To be protected, tutored, nurtured, or cared for by one. 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

ham it up

To act in an exaggerated way, typically in order to be funny. Your daughter loves to ham it up for the camera—you might have a little actress on your hands!
See also: ham, up

ham up

To exaggerate a performance or act in an overstated or over-the-top manner, often to the level of being irksome or inappropriate. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ham" and "up." This is a serious play, so please don't ham up your part. My toddlers like to ham it up whenever we have company.
See also: ham, up


1. 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.


In a clumsy manner; lacking care and skill. The candidate's ham-handed attempts to woo voters just ended up annoying them. Sorry for all the typos—I'm too ham-handed to hit the right keys on this tiny keyboard.


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.


One who exaggerates a performance or acts in an overstated or over-the-top manner, often to the level of being irksome or inappropriate. This is a serious play, so please don't be a ham out there. My toddlers turn into real hams whenever we have company over.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Remove the ham from the pan and allow the excess water to drain off.
O'Neill was said to be furious that news had broken of his talks with West Ham, especially as he had given no firm indication he was willing to replace Grant.
Lane County groups involved in ham radio hope the set-ups will inspire at least a few members of the public to learn more about the value of ham radios.
And McAvennie, who played for West Ham in the 1980s and 90s, doesn't believe it would be the right move for Rice to quit the Hammers in favour of a move to United.
That 40 people can consume a whole leg of ham is understandable, considering its exquisite taste, the sheer delight of biting into a slice of thin, transparent, rosy ham whose origin is that of a pig that had roamed freely in fields of green and eaten nothing but acorns from centuries-old oak trees during its privileged lifetime (or, in some cases with herbs and grains added to their diet).
West ham got back in front when substitute Perez pounced to convert the rebound after Pedro Obiang's shot hit the post - and it should have been 3-1 but for a linesman's flag wrongly ruling out the Spaniard's strike minutes later.
West Ham are looking a much better side than they were at the start of the season but Newcastle are flying at the moment, with four wins and a draw in their past six league matches.
* To start this recipe, you will need to pay close attention to what type of ham you're using.
In an oven preheated to 180AdegC, bake the ham for 30 minutes, glazing with the sauce.
Meanwhile, as the ham has been cooking for 5 hours, start to assemble the salsa, squash, and tortillas during the last hour of the ham being in the crockpot.
Ham was one of the 197 South Koreans who visited North Korea's scenic Diamond Mountain resort from last Monday to Wednesday for rare reunions with relatives in the North.
Now the 64-year-old will set to work on dragging West Ham back up the Premier League table, following this season's 13th-place finish.
Pitch invasions and ugly scenes in the stands, including fans taunting West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan in the directors' box, led the club to launch a probe and call an emergency meeting with the Stadium stakeholders.
In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration of Taiwan approved the food safety and transportation standards for the importation of the world famous Jamones Iberico, or Iberian ham, cured ham from Spain for sale on the Taiwanese market.