[Ads-l] ham (antonym of spam) 2003

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 29 01:23:04 EDT 2018

Paul McFedries did an entry for "ham" in 2003 with examples from earlier
that year.


I'm reminded of a 2007 coinage, "bacn" ("email you want but not right now"):


"Bacn" was nominated that year for ADS WOTY (Most Useful category) and was
also a runner-up for Oxford WOTY.


On Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 12:14 AM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>

> A graphic for Akismet, the spam-catcher, says “1. Visitors submit comments
> on your blog…. 3. Akismet tells your blog whether it’s ham or spam."
> Neither the Oxford Living Dictionaries nor Merriam-Webster (
> https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ham <
> https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ham>) nor Dictionary.com <
> http://dictionary.com/> (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ham?s=t <
> http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ham?s=t>) lists this meaning.
> I found 189 entries for “ham” on Urban Dictionary, and on 30 August 2003,
> Paul Zurawski defined “ham” as “real email - not spam” (
> https://bit.ly/2IBy3ZT <https://bit.ly/2IBy3ZT>).
> Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ham <
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ham>) has” (Internet, informal, uncommon)
> Electronic mail that is wanted; mail that is not spam or junk mail.” and
> lists “spam” as an acronym. The “uncommon” label notwithstanding, the
> expression “ham or spam” yields 58K raw Googits.
> As the Akismet example shows, “ham" is not limited to email but also
> includes blog comments, and probably any other sort of cybercomment, such
> as on Facebook.
> It’s possible that the substitution of ham/SPAM in cooking may have
> contributed to this expression. The earliest such usage I found is 1999:
> 1 December 1999
> "Oral History: Wilmer “Bill” Cox Morris” by the Historical Committee of
> the Outrigger Canoe Club (https://bit.ly/2lDWc90 <https://bit.ly/2lDWc90>)
> I got some pressed ham or Spam in a sandwich with onion in it and an apple
> and a cup of coffee.
> I have not searched Google Groups or any other such archive.

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