Wacky, Wonderful and Weird Words: SPAM

Words! Wacky, Wonderful and Weird. Many words, phrases, and use of words have a history. Some are funny, some peculiar, and most surprising.

For example, SPAM

SPAM can

How did SPAM in a can become spam in your email’s inbox?

In 1937 a new food product made its way to the store selves of America. The Hormel Spiced Ham – pork and potato starch in a can!

The shortened form for spiced shoulder of pork and ham became SPAM.

With the second World War came suffering and storage and fresh meat was strictly rationed on SPAM cansthe islands for Britain and Hawaii. Enter the tin can full of SPAM. It was shipped everywhere in large quantities. Soon, the store shelves were filled with aisle upon aisle of SPAM.





After the war, SPAM stayed on the islands and families got used to buying and eating it. In the 1970’s Monty Python made the idea of SPAM more well known through a comedy sketch.The sketch was set In an English café that only served SPAM dishes. There was also a group of vikings who started singing.

monty-python-spam         Monty Python viking SPAM


on and on ad infinitum et nauseam!

With the budding computer age of the 1980’s came computer programmers, a group who for some reason loved Monty Python. Maybe they ate to much SPAM out of the can late at night! Computer programmers also loved showing each other programs they had written. The most popular program was a very simple practical joke. The first command in the program was that the computer should print the word SPAM. The second command is to go back to the first command. The result!


SPAM keys

This word would scroll down the screen forever and there was nothing you couldn’t stop it.

By the 1990’s, SPAM became the programers slang for anything unwanted on the internet.

This is how SPAM in a can is now also known as the SPAM in your inbox!

4 thoughts on “Wacky, Wonderful and Weird Words: SPAM

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