go ham

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See also: go HAM and go H.A.M.


Alternative forms[edit]


Uncertain; the earliest use of the term in the idiomatic sense appears to be in the 2007 song "Go Ham on 'Em" by Soulja Boy (see quotation below). "Ham" is often thought to be an acronym of "hard as a motherfucker", although this may be a backronym.[1] Alternatively, it could be a phonetic clipping of mayhem.[2] The term was popularized by the 2011 song "H.A.M." by Jay-Z and Kanye West.



go ham (third-person singular simple present goes ham, present participle going ham, simple past went ham, past participle gone ham)

  1. (intransitive, slang, originally African-American Vernacular, often followed by on) To enter an enraged and uncontrollable state; to go berserk.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:go crazy, Thesaurus:lose one's temper
    If you use her fabric scissors, she's going to go ham on you.
    • 2007, “Go Ham on 'Em” (0:12 from the start)‎[2]performed by Soulja Boy:
      Go ham on em Soulja, go ham on 'em
    • 2011 August, Jay-Z and Kanye West, “H•A•M”, Watch the Throne, deluxe edition, Roc-A-Fella Records:
      I'm about to go HAM / Hard as a muthafucker, let these niggas know who I am
    • 2014, Makala Thomas, Count Angelo, page 157:
      “Clover went in. And she's so calm and gentle normally! I didn't expect her to go ham like that. Will Patricia's arm mend?”
      “Not for a while.”
      “Serves her right. She went ham on me for no reason.”
      Angelo shrugged a shoulder. “She blames you for Marissa's state.”
    • 2014, Ms. Michel Moore, Coldhearted & Crazy: Say U Promise I:
      In between the guys in the crowd having to be told what was really good and now Ty acting like he owned her and her hustle, she went ham. “Main girl?” Kenya finally had enough of his ass. “Nigga, what? Please don't coach mines. You got me all fucked up in the game. Fall back and don't play yourself!”
  2. (intransitive, slang, originally African-American Vernacular, often followed by on) To do something with the maximum possible effort; to go all out.
    Synonyms: full send, put one's whole pussy into
    My constume last Halloween was pretty lame, but this time I'm really going to go ham.
    I ordered a couple burgers and just went ham on them.
    • 2009 May 16, “Say Damn” (0:42 from the start), in Murder Was the Case[3], performed by Gucci Mane:
      My necklace represent the fact I go ham
    • 2009 June 16, “My Niggaz” (1:52 from the start), in Hustle Till I Die[4], performed by Juicy J:
      Nigga I'm the man, I'm the same with the whips / Your baby mama love me, she go ham on the dick
    • 2016 September 14, “Splash & Cash”, MizorMac (lyrics), performed by 67 (R6 x ST) & Harlem (Bis x MizzorMac):
      My flats called Harlem darling
      Coz the place full of cats
      Feds go ham
  3. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see go,‎ ham.
    • 1933, Ben Hecht, Gene Fowler, The Great Magoo: A Love-sick Charade in Three Acts and Something Like Eight Scenes, Recounting the Didoes of Two Young and Amorous Souls, who Nigh Perished when They Weren't in the Hay Together:
      Don't go ham on me. Don't go ham. I'm the whole works, and you know it. I'm just carrying you.
    • 1977 06, Popular Mechanics, page 109:
      One of the best reasons to go ham is the quiet hi-fi sound of radios used in the two-meter ham band.
    • 1996, The Reader's Digest:
      Go ham for the holidays! Serve Cure 81® for a special dinner, then try these delicious ways to stretch the extra ham and feed a bunch for brunch, lunch or dinner.


  1. ^ Cody Kapocsi (2018 August 28) “The Origin of "Going Ham" or Why You Aren't Going Ham”, in From the Holocron[1], archived from the original on 2023-09-25:Consequently, the definition of going ham predates "hard as a m*." ¶ Which means that we probably have a backronym on our hands.
  2. ^ go ham on em'”, in Urban Dictionary, launched 1999.

Further reading[edit]