"ham and egger" -- horse lingo

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon May 3 23:54:16 UTC 2004

I also associate this phrase with boxing, but would have supposed that it referred to a fighter who fought for small purses, just enough to pay the rent and buy his breakfast.  Jack London wrote a story about such a fighter; I wonder whenter it contained the expression "ham-and-egger".

As of a vocabulary of horseracing slang. I wrote to the library at the National Museum of Thoroughbred Racing at Saratoga, and was sent a media handout of technical terms, including some slang.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
Date: Monday, May 3, 2004 4:27 pm
Subject: "ham and egger" -- horse lingo

> I had this message from Al Lubrano of the Philadelphia Inquirer -- he
> wanted to know about "ham and egger," which was used as a
> self-description by Pat Champman, the owner of Kentucky Derby winner
> Smarty Jones, as well as whether there was any list of racing-related
> slang. If anyone can help him with any of this, please copy him as
> well, since he's under deadline.
> Geoff Nunberg
> From: "Lubrano, Al" <alubrano at phillynews.com>
> To: nunberg at csli.stanford.edu
> Subject: horse lingo
> Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 16:03:22 -0400
>         Hi, Geoffrey:
>                 You asked me to email you regarding "ham and egger,"
> and other horse- or horse race-related phrases.
>         From the Web, Coal Speak (a dictionary of coal terms)--ham
> and egger : a somewhat derogatory term, used as a put-down for a
> person. Comes from the old days when miners held boxing matches. The
> winner got money, the loser got a ham and egg meal.
>                 I wanted to know whether this is an Eastern coal
> regionalism, and how else it's been used (I'm pretty sure Stallone
> used it in "Rocky" to describe himself. Also, I'm looking for other
> terms that might be horse-related.
>                 Thanks so much.
>                 Alfred Lubrano
>                 Philadelphia Inquirer

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