Main definitions of lam in English

: lam1lam2

lam1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Hit hard; strike:

    ‘I'll lam you in the mouth in a minute’
    [no object] ‘they surged along, lamming into anyone in their path’
    • ‘A Thompson lubed wad is seated over the powder, and then a Speer.457’ round ball is lammed home.’
    • ‘Will Afghanistan - or what remains of it after decades of mayhem, following the Soviet attack that lammed into that country from 1979-have been pounded?’

Origin

Late 16th century: perhaps of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian and Danish lamme paralyse.

Pronunciation:

lam

/lam/

Main definitions of lam in English

: lam1lam2

lam2

noun

in phrase on the lam
North American
informal
  • In flight, especially from the police:

    ‘he went on the lam and is living under a false name’
    • ‘While the rest of the city was celebrating Expo '67, a small-time hood named James Earl Ray, on the lam from a Missouri jail, wandered around the port, desperately seeking allies to help him get a Canadian passport.’
    • ‘They're on the lam, presumably together, presumably armed and dangerous, presumably somewhere in the southeastern United States, and they're husband and wife.’
    • ‘When we first got our cat and brought her home to our new flat, she pushed up a window that was open just a crack, busted out through the flyscreen and went on the lam.’
    • ‘So I knew that there was no need to go on the lam, and things will be a lot less tense at the next neighborhood block party if I do the right thing as soon as I return home.’
    • ‘He could have been a hero or a villain on the lam, the displaced son of well-to-do folk or just a boy from any one of a thousand dirt farms all over Texas.’
    • ‘In his latest collection, Sweet Land Stories, Doctorow hauls this preoccupation out to the high lonesome prairies, conjuring a cast of religious visionaries and orphans on the lam.’
    • ‘She, however, has lent it to a thief on the lam from the police.’
    • ‘In 1990, while awaiting trial for stealing millions from an armored-truck company, Ojeda snipped off his electronic monitoring bracelet and went on the lam.’
    • ‘The play's five boys are school chums from a reasonably close British locale, while the two teen females are on the lam from Scotland, fleeing a stalking high school English teacher.’
    • ‘The O'Kasick brothers escaped and went on the lam.’
    • ‘In Markov's case, one practice that encouraged him to go on the lam rather than return to captivity was the ritual where prison guards smell for alcohol in prisoners returning after a weekend free.’
    • ‘The expansive Gérard Depardieu does a swell job of ‘filling out’ the role of Eugène François Vidocq, a real-life figure who went from crook on the lam to mythologized crimebuster.’
    • ‘But Ray visited Toronto only once in his life: while on the lam, just after King was assassinated.’
    • ‘When the police come looking for him, he must go on the lam and try to piece together the last two years of his life using only the strange trinkets as clues.’
    • ‘Besides tracking evidence and suspects on the lam, Bart will be used to help front-line officers in break-and-enter cases, Coles said.’
    • ‘Though Bourne's past is never fully revealed, the most disappointing element of The Bourne Identity is the fact that the film focuses most of its attention on the duo on the lam.’
    • ‘Taylor and Thomas also tell the story of a convict on the lam in Maine who hid from police in snowy woods.’
    • ‘Rousseau had been on the lam throughout the States since 1981, using the stolen identity of a Dallas radio newsreader.’
    • ‘We learn that the cops are in cahoots with the drug dealer, but this is an incidental plot device that's entirely dropped once Philippa and Filippo are on the lam.’
    • ‘In a Savage Land Aussie director Bill Bennett wowed the arthouse crowd a few years back with Kiss or Kill, his wicked take on two criminals on the lam.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]North American
informal
  • Escape; flee.

    • ‘To avoid being killed by Archie's men, they lam it with Shorty who takes them to where he's been living in Boston.’
    • ‘I lammed, ran faster than I'd run since being made cabin boy for Kapitan Sergei, with the store owner close behind.’
    • ‘Jet Li plays the part of Han Sing, doing durance vile in the Hong Kong lockup, taking the fall for his dad, Ch'u Sing (Henry O) who lammed out of Honkers for San Francisco, the Chinese fuzz hot on his larcenous heels.’

Origin

Late 19th century: from lam.

Pronunciation:

lam

/lam/