What is the name HAM short for?

I’ve have been reading a few books (from the early 1900s) with that name and also I heard on TV Bette Davis was married to a guy named HAM, is it a general nickname or short for anything specific. Bette Davis’s husband was named Harmon btw

Hamilton? Hampton?

Or Abraham, Hamish, Hamilcar…of course, if you asked him, he might just say “I ham what I ham.”

I’ve only known one person named HAM.
It was short for Hamlin.

A brief bit of looking also suggests the nickname Ham may result from the theft of some hams (Doc Savage) and, later, from one’s interest in that particular kind of radio as a hobby.

So why shouldn’t it be short for Harmon? It’s no dumber than Jack for John, or Ted for Edward.


Ham’s full name was Harmon Oscar Nelson, Junior. His middle name may have been the inspiration for the dubbing of the Academy Award statuette as “Oscar”.

It could just be a standard Bibiical call-out to the son of Noah.

“Ham” is a commonplace diminutive variant of the surname “Travolta.”

I’d vote for Hamilton. I had a professor named Hamilton. Everybody called him Ham.

In some areas of the south, Ham is a common surname. Up north, I see Hamm more often.

I think it is first recorded for Sir Hammock of Banana

The little boy in the cartoon strip “Baby Blues” is called Hammy. Does anyone know his full first name?

And a character in David Copperfield.

How 'bout “Hamilton Burger.” I once read that Erle Stanley Gardner chose that name deliberately because he didn’t like the character and liked having Perry Mason grind him into “hamburger” meat in the courtroom. Of course, I don’t think he was ever called “Ham” in the series, but the implication was obvious.

Of course they are talking about beer.

Ham is actually short for Hamnet.

According to Toonopedia, it’s “Hamish”, which is a Scottish variant of “James”.

danceswithcats: Your post reminded me of Jack Ham, who played linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his career, there was always a sign in the stands at Three Rivers Stadium which read Dobre Shunka, which means “good ham” in several Slavic languages.