gammon

Definitions

General English

Food

  • The name given to a whole hind leg cut from a side of bacon after curing. It has a lighter cure than ham and is either used as bacon or cut into thick (1 cm) gammon rashers or steaks.

Military

  • noun
    (written as Gammon)
    an SA-5, Soviet-designed long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM)

Travel

  • noun smoked or cured ham, either whole or cut into slices

Origin & History of “gammon”

Gammon ‘bacon’ (15th c.) is not related to the gammon (18th c.) of backgammon. It comes from Old Northern French gambon (source also of modern French jambon ‘ham’), which was a derivative of gambe ‘leg’ – hence etymologically ‘leg meat’. this seems to go back ultimately to Greek kampḗ ‘bend’, which was used particularly as an anatomical term for joints of the body. Latin took it over as a veterinary expression, gamba, denoting a ‘horse’s hoof’, and it passed in due course into Italian as gamba (whence English gambit, gambol, jamb (14th c.), and the gamba of viola da gamba (18th c.), played between the legs) and into French as jambe, both meaning ‘leg’. The gammon of backgammon comes from middle English gamen, the ancestor of modern English game (see also (backgammon)).
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