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

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 29 01:28:26 EDT 2018

Nice, thank you! One of those sources is likely the UD entry’s source.

It does seem that most sources have zeroed in on email as the only form of spam. The Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/spam <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/spam>) use of “electronic messages” for spam could be construed to include Facebook and other cybercomments, but that doesn’t seem like the ordinary meaning to me. BB

> On 28 Jun 2018, at 22:23, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Paul McFedries did an entry for "ham" in 2003 with examples from earlier
> that year.
> https://wordspy.com/index.php?word=ham
> I'm reminded of a 2007 coinage, "bacn" ("email you want but not right now"):
> https://wordspy.com/index.php?word=bacn
> "Bacn" was nominated that year for ADS WOTY (Most Useful category) and was
> also a runner-up for Oxford WOTY.
> https://www.americandialect.org/Word-of-the-Year_2007.pdf
> https://blog.oup.com/2007/11/Locavore/
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 12:14 AM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> 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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