Definition of hames in English:


plural noun

  • Two curved pieces of iron or wood forming or attached to the collar of a draught horse, to which the traces are attached.

    • ‘Breast collars, which are much cheaper than full collars and hames, are easier to fit and accommodate variety pony sizes.’
    • ‘They couldn't stop Major dancing about but they still managed to fasten the hames chains onto his collar and the breeching chains onto the hooks further down the shafts and so he was, as they say, ‘yoked up’.’
    • ‘We used to call them ‘haum chains’ and, of course, they were hooked on the hames of a horse collar, the other end went on to the hook on the shafts of a cart etc.’


  • make a hames of

    • informal Do (something) very badly or ineptly; make a mess of.

      ‘Galway made a hames of their chance of a goal’
      • ‘But King Jarold is dying and Shrek has to caretake the kingdom of Far Far and Away and is making a hames of it.’
      • ‘But tragically for unionism, they made such a hames of it that they revealed both their political inadequacy and their economic incompetence.’
      • ‘The reality was that the Minister and the government had made a hames of the (consent for the) upstream pipeline.’
      • ‘In this cartoon, all elected representatives are self-interested liars, devoid of principle, who are making a hames of running the country.’
      • ‘And if you make a hames of it, you have a brand new crowd in two minutes anyway.’
      • ‘More recently, Ahern has made an even more spectacular hames of the cabinet reshuffle than Garret FitzGerald did in 1986, which is saying something.’
      • ‘The major events of life - birth, death and marriage - were mostly arranged and presided over by the women, with the men performing various bit parts - and as often as not, making a hames of them.’
      • ‘The club has found some people reluctant or nervous about taking on this new challenge as they haven't rowed before and feel they will make a hames of it.’
      • ‘Bottom bloody line is, you're making a desperate hames of covering it up.’
      • ‘If I wasn't a writer, I would be a particularly ineffective person, muddling around on death row, making an absolute hames of things but attempting to offer succour to the condemned.’


Middle English: from Middle Dutch.