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gammon

noun 1.  deceitful nonsense.
--verb 2.  to pretend; jokingly lie; to kid.
--adjective 3.  false; fake; pretend: Gammon plants made of plastic.
4.  lame: What a gammon idea!
--interjection 5.  an exclamation of disbelief, equivalent to "As if!".
--phrase 6. gammon around, to fool around. Also, gamin, gammin.

Editor's comments: As per all the comments received so far, we have changed the definition of this word. Originally it was simply "to tell a lie". Now there are 6 definitions! This is clearly a complex word with many shades of meaning so if you wish to add a comment please give as much detail as possible, especially important is to make clear which definition you are writing about and what part of the country you know it from. It is also spelt 'gamin' by some contributors.

Contributor's comments: To tell a lie: That's gammon!

Contributor's comments: Never heard the word here, as kids a lie was a "whopper" all over W.A.

Contributor's comments: [Perth informant] I have also heard this word used in the sense of something being 'lame'. Like, "What a gammon idea." I know people in the NT use it a lot.

Contributor's comments: [Perth informant] Was only used in Indigenous context and became common school word in the 1990's.

Contributor's comments: Also used in north Queensland and, at least, southern Northern Territory.

Contributor's comments: Used a lot among Aboriginals.

Contributor's comments: Gammon perhaps has its root in Pidgin English [PNG] "Giamon" has a similar meaning!

Contributor's comments: In the NT, not necessarily a lie; often something stupid or contemptible as well, or used like the more common "As if!"

Contributor's comments: I came across this word when I was teaching in Alice Springs. The students would use it as a euphemism for something disappointing, something they didn't agree with and something they didn't like. This certainly differs from its usage in WA. Its use was primarily adjectvial.

Contributor's comments: Used a lot in the NT, as a query to a story e.g. Are you gammon? (are you telling the truth?).

Contributor's comments: 'Gammon' can certainly mean a lie, but is has a range of other slightly different meanings as well. Often it can mean something is a fake such as in "Oh, no. That's just a gammon one!" You can be described as a 'gammon artist' or to be 'gammoning around' which means to be fooling around. 'Gammon' is also used as a word to exclaim disbelief or derision. These were terms in common use in Darwin about 15 - 20 years ago, particularly in the school yard, but are now fairly rare.

Contributor's comments: Your regionalisation of this word is different from that which I experienced. So is the meaning. Gammon means pretend not lie. It was a word used commonly amongst Aboriginals and I remember using it in Darwin in 1948-54.

Contributor's comments: My adopted aboriginal sister from Maroopna in Vic taught us this word to mean 'not true' or 'not real'.

Contributor's comments: Gammon is also used in this sense in the NT, specifically in Alice Springs.

Contributor's comments: My ex wife (Victorian Koorie) used "Gammin" to be just kidding, pulling your leg, etc. Very similar to Gammon - lying.

Contributor's comments: "Gammon" is also used in the Top End of the Northern Territory, not just Western Australia.

Contributor's comments: When I went to school in north Queensland, every kid at school used gammon (pronounced g-air-men).

Contributor's comments: Gammon was what you said to someone who was exaggerating a story in north-west Queensland in the 1980's.

Contributor's comments: Your language map for 'gammon' places the word in WA, however I have found the word prevalent throughout the NT across all age groups in the NT - mainly aboriginal speakers.

Contributor's comments: Originally and Aboriginal slang word. I've heard it used by people from up north, also means 'lame'.

Contributor's comments: [from North Queensland] gamin (first syllable rhymes with 'ham'): having someone on, faking it, joking, lying: You're gamin! Stop gamin me! That's gamin.

Contributor's comments: spell it 'gamin' (verb and adjective) [West Central Qld]

Contributor's comments: I've got three teenage children and my youngest uses the word 'gammon' fairly frequently when amongst friends. I've ascertained that the word usually refers to "As if" but occasionally it means 'to joke' but it does depend in what context the speaker is talking about.

Contributor's comments: Most decent dictionaries define "gammon" among other things as: 1. Misleading or nonsensical talk; humbug, To mislead by deceptive talk. To talk misleadingly or deceptively.. Funnily enough young albatrosses (at about 18 months) before they finally leave the nest are wont to gather in groups and indulge in a strange behaviour which includes extending their necks as high as possible and bobbing up and down to the others in the group. This behavious is called gamming. Newfies (as in Newfoundland) also use "to gam" to mean to chat.

Contributor's comments: As a child I lived in many QLD towns from Gold Coast to Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria, in the 1960s-70s. I only ever heard "gamin" used by Aboriginals in & around Normanton, within English, to mean lying, joking, etc. I always assumed it to be a creolised form of "gaming". Later heard a very similar "giamon" in Melanesian (PNG) Pidgin.

Contributor's comments: I have heard "gammon" used in Nth Qld and the Territory, particularly by Aboriginal people. It means bullshit/bullshitting, deceit, to deceive a person.

Contributor's comments: [Nth Qld]. Hopefully the comments above ensure that area 9 is added to the word map for this term. I think the spelling used implies an incorrect pronunciation, hence the number of contributors who have emphasised how to say it. The most gamin' (4. lame) thing anyone can do is mispronounce the word!

Contributor's comments: Could be related to the PNG Tok Pisin (Pidgin) word "giaman" which means a liar.

Contributor's comments: This word is used a lot here in northern Queensland by many people but mostly aboriginals.

Contributor's comments: Word used by school kids in Darwin. May orginally be an aboriginal word, but am not sure. The students (black and white) use it to refer to something they consider to be lame, dodgy, boring or cheap.

Contributor's comments: [Darwin informant] falsehood, deceptive: "I don't believe you! That's just a gammon story". "Are you fair dinkum, or is that just gammon?"

Contributor's comments: Used by children in North Qld to say they are joking about something: "I'm only gammin' with you"

Contributor's comments: I think the use of 'gammon' in the sense of pretend or not real comes from the word 'gaming' rather than from pigs.

Contributor's comments: [West Central Qld informant] not good, derogatory descriptor can be used as a verb or adjective: "That's gammin." "You're gammin (me)"

Contributor's comments: I heard "gammon" while finishing year 12 in Alice Springs. I haven't heard it anywhere else. I was told that it came from the local Aboriginal dialect in the Alice, meaning "struth!", "No way", "you're telling a lie" or "that's a load of crap."

Contributor's comments: Contribution from Massachusetts, USA. I lived in Alice Springs for a few years. Kids used 'gammon' to mean 'lame'. Seems it was unknown to Victorians and others.