Hamstrings. Hamm is an Anglo-Saxon (i.e. Old English) word for the back of the thigh, which may be derived from an Old Teutonic word, ham, "crooked", that referred initially to the bend at the knee and later just the popliteal space behind the knee. The "strings" are the long, thin tendons of the muscles of the posterior thigh, specifically the semitendinosus and semimembranosus medially, and the lateral biceps femoris. The tendons can be easily felt on either side of the popliteal fossa (the "knee pit").

The "hamstrings" specifically refer to the tendons of the posterior thigh muscles but the practical usage of the word is in reference to the muscles as well.

The ham of the dinner table is typically the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris of the pig, but anterior thigh and gluteal muscles may be present as well.

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