Gammon is the hind leg of pork after it has been cured by dry-salting or brining, which may or may not be smoked. Like bacon, it must be cooked before it can be eaten; in that sense gammon is comparable to fresh pork meat, and different from dry-cured ham like prosciutto. The term is mostly used in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while other dialects of English largely make no distinction between gammon and ham.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, joints of cooked gammon are often served at Christmas. It can be found in most supermarkets either as a full joint or sliced into steaks, which can then be cooked via pan frying in a manner similar to bacon.
The word 'gammon' is derived from the Middle English word for 'ham', gambon, which is attested since the early 15th century and derived from Old North French gambon, itself derived from Old French jambon, which is identical to the modern French word for 'ham'. Old French jambon is attested since the 13th century and is derived from Old French jambe (gambe in Old North French) which in turn is derived from the Late Latin gamba, meaning 'leg/hock of a horse/animal', which can ultimately be traced to Greek kampe meaning 'a bending/a joint', which is from Proto-Indo-European *kamp- (“to bend; crooked”). In some English dialects a similarly derived 'gambol' refers to a 'leg'.
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- "gammon - Origin and meaning of gammon by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com.
- "gambol - Origin and meaning of gambol by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com.