This phrase is used in Ireland (Hiberno English).

It means to make a mess of something. Interestingly enough, everyone in Ireland knows what this phrase means but very few actually know what a hames actually is.

Note: The word hames is pronounced to rhyme with games and names.


I made a complete hames of my exam today, I definitely won't pass.

The first time I tried to make sushi I made an absolute hames of it, but I'm much better now.

Wow, the hairdresser really made a hames of your bangs, you should have demanded a refund.

I had to look up the origin of the term hames.

Seemingly a hames is an object you secure on a horse to help carry a load of goods. When the hames is poorly secured then the load can easily all fall off which of course would be a bit of a disaster.

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    I'm an educated North American and I've never encountered either the word hames nor the phrase containing it. I presume it's pronounced something like [heimz]? Jun 6, 2021 at 21:43
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    You've mentioned the hame related to an equine contrivance. The OED says that one first appeared around 1300 but they aren't perfectly certain where it came from. An older word hame meaning a skin or integument like a sloughed off snake or dragon skin dates from Old English, but stopped being used after the 16th century. Any chance yours is more related to the older term than to the newer?
    – tchrist
    Jun 6, 2021 at 22:05
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    Not that there is any connection but the meaning is reminiscent of 'to make a hash of something'.
    – Mitch
    Jun 6, 2021 at 23:05
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  • 1
    I hear this word frequently. It never crossed my mind that it was Hiberno-English until now! I'm in NI by the way :-)
    – k1eran
    Jun 7, 2021 at 19:41


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