From Middle English [Term?], from Old French gambon (compare modern French jambon (“ham”)), from gambe (“leg”), from Late Latin *gamba, from Ancient Greek κάμπη (kámpē), from Proto-Indo-European *kamp- (“to bend; crooked”). Doublet of jamon.
- A cut of quick-cured pork leg.
- To cure bacon by salting.
- (backgammon) A victory in backgammon achieved when the opponent has not borne off a single stone.
- (rare) Backgammon (the game itself).
- (backgammon) To beat by a gammon (without the opponent bearing off a stone).
Perhaps related to the first etymology, with reference to tying up a ham.
gammon (plural gammons)
- To lash with ropes (on a ship).
Perhaps a special use of the word from etymology 2.
- (dated) Chatter, ridiculous nonsense.
- Synonym: gammon and pickles
- 1848-50, William Makepeace Thackeray, Pendennis, ch 46:
- “Gammon, Pen—go on,” Foker said.
- (colloquial, dated, transitive) To deceive; to lie plausibly to.
- 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
- And no use for anyone to tell Charles that this was because the Family was in mourning for Mr Granville Darracott […]: Charles might only have been second footman at Darracott Place for a couple of months when that disaster occurred, but no one could gammon him into thinking that my lord cared a spangle for his heir.
- 2016, Cathy McLennan, Saltwater, →ISBN:
- This blackfulla's driving a car. Copper stops 'im, says, “Did you know you were speeding?” Blackfulla says, “No.” His Missus goes, “Oh yeah you did, eh.” Cop says, “Did you know your tail lights aren't working? Guy says, "No". His missus says, "You did an' all, Dont you gammon to them coppers." Guy goes to his Missus, "Shut up!" Copper asks the Missus, "Does he always talk to you like that?" She goes, "Only when he's drunk!"
Gained popularity in 2017 (in the phrase "Great Wall of Gammon", likening the referents' rosy complexions to gammon (“ham, bacon”)), although the metaphor was in use earlier: the BBC points to a 2016 use of "gammon face". Not related to the "gammon tendency" in Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, where the word means "nonsense".
- (neologism, derogatory, UK) A middle-aged or older right-wing, reactionary white man, or such men collectively.
- George Pierpoint (14 May 2018), “Why your social media is covered in gammon”, in BBC News, BBC