Definition of lamb in English:



  • 1A young sheep.

    • ‘They are often seen soaring in search of carrion, but their diet also includes young goats and lambs.’
    • ‘A baby lamb born weighing less than a bag of sugar has defied all the odds.’
    • ‘We are told that dogs are presently loose in the fields at night, and are a danger to the sheep and their young lambs.’
    • ‘However, in some cases heavy losses occurred among recently shorn sheep and newly born lambs.’
    • ‘In fact the realisation of how important copper is for development was discovered in copper deficient areas of Australia where sheep or lambs started to develop an ataxia.’
    • ‘The result is a nicely marked speckled faced ewe lamb with good confirmation and vigor.’
    • ‘They frequently kill chickens, ducks, and even lambs and piglets.’
    • ‘Rumen's only source of income is from selling lambs and sheep.’
    • ‘A farmer has lost all his sheep, 300 lambs among them, shot by young men from Her Majesty's Armed Forces, whose sergeant had been reduced to hidden tears.’
    • ‘I have friends and acquaintances who are farmers and crofters, many of whom, in upland areas, depend on sheep and lambs for their livelihood.’
    • ‘Sheep and lambs usually spend most of their lives outdoors, and generally get to eat a relatively natural and unadulterated diet.’
    • ‘- People have made complaints on the program's website that heavily pregnant ewes and newborn lambs were mustered.’
    • ‘Have members ever seen a lamb or sheep die from flyblow?’
    • ‘Today, Merino wool is taken from sheep and lambs in Australia and New Zealand as well.’
    • ‘For the children a special attraction is the petting zoo allowing them to see and touch foals, piglets, lambs and chicks.’
    • ‘The buoyant trade also led to more ewe lambs being slaughtered rather than being retained for breeding.’
    • ‘Certainly, opening the American border to sheep and lambs should not be near as difficult as opening it to cattle, since, I repeat, sheep do not get BSE.’
    • ‘More than 90% of the sheep were marked as lambs, and all rams were individually identifiable.’
    • ‘The newborn lambs are brought into the house when it's cold and fed by hand.’
    • ‘A total of 9,000 sheep and lambs were slaughtered.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The flesh of a lamb as food.
      ‘we had roast lamb for supper’
      [as modifier] ‘lamb chops’
      • ‘Forty per cent of Irish spring lamb, she says, is sold on the home market.’
      • ‘I recommend a light, acidic Beaujolais Villages as your wine partner to a lamb curry.’
      • ‘You need best end of neck lamb chops but don't over-trim them; leave a little fat on for flavour.’
      • ‘We'll cook roast lamb and potatoes and indulgent desserts and scoff the whole thing ourselves.’
      • ‘Grilled steak, pork roast, sautéed lamb chops, or roast chicken would make a perfect pairing.’
      • ‘The roast lamb was a scrumptious mound of tender, smokey meat.’
      • ‘Sunday roasts - lamb, beef and pork - were available, as was half a roast chicken.’
      • ‘Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pan.’
      • ‘This light, slightly racy red wine would match well with grilled meats, salmon, lamb or pork.’
      • ‘They're typically stuffed with a rice and meat mixture, but with lamb chops as the centerpiece, do I really want to do meat in the stuffing?’
      • ‘Main courses included roast beef, lamb and pork from the carvery, steak and kidney pie, poached chicken with mushroom and asparagus sauce and vegetable lasagne.’
      • ‘Mr. Deacon said spring lamb prices will be set by the strong domestic market demand and scarce supplies.’
      • ‘William barks for them to shut up as he bites into a lamb shank.’
      • ‘Sundays would be the day that I properly cook something traditional like roast lamb.’
      • ‘I dip a sprig of rosemary into the oil and place it over each lamb chop.’
      • ‘Bertie had to admit the lamb stew was the best he ever tasted.’
      • ‘Yes, pork fat is higher in unsaturated fatty acids than beef, veal, or lamb fat.’
      • ‘I was preparing lamb chops, according to a recipe from Jamie's Dinners.’
      • ‘Use enough stock to just barely cover the lamb shanks.’
      • ‘I personally like the lamb cutlets, although they can be a little tough.’
    2. 1.2Used figuratively as a symbol of meekness or innocence.
      ‘he accepted her decision like a lamb’
      • ‘I looked at the religious angle, the Christian / Pagan conflict, and the wolf as heretic symbol, as opposed to the Christian lamb.’
      • ‘Jesus is the innocent lamb that is put to death to maintain peace.’
      • ‘It is worth recalling that however successful they eventually became, Ferranti Thistle were originally regarded as sacrificial lambs likely to surrender easy points to the existing clubs.’
      • ‘He was the sacrificial lamb without blemish, making an atonement to end all sacrifices.’
      • ‘There are babes in Christ's family as well as old men; there are weak members of the mystical body as well as strong ones; there are tender lambs as well as sheep.’
      • ‘Me, I'd rather sit here eating a Tootsie Roll Pop, innocent as a newborn lamb, and not worry about stuff like the police.’
      • ‘McNulty: We are poor little lambs who have lost our way.’
      • ‘Even a man of Karsh's considerable charm couldn't have turned Churchill from lion to lamb in an instant.’
      • ‘It's called the Wiffenpoof Song, and one line goes, ‘We're poor little lambs who have lost our way.’’
      • ‘Britney Spears, the wholesome princess of pop, and queen of semiconductor physics is not the harmless little lamb we all took her for.’
      • ‘For Christians there is the added symbolic significance that Jesus is regarded as the lamb of God.’
      • ‘Few women are the docile and innocent lambs that the media and feminist groups have portrayed them to be.’
      • ‘McDougal may not have been the most innocent of lambs, but it is clear that the Start Gestapo would not have pursued her had it not been for her friendship with the Clintons.’
      • ‘Yes, Kelley herself is not exactly an innocent lamb being led to media slaughter.’
      • ‘The singer is admitting to the listener that he is feigning the innocence of a lamb in order to get close to Little Red.’
      • ‘A wide-eyed innocent, Matthew is initially the lamb to the slaughter as he falls under the spell of the beguiling Isabelle.’
      • ‘Thank God for all right thinking parents out there who have shielded the innocent lambs of the world from this menace.’
    3. 1.3Used to describe or address someone regarded with affection or pity, especially a young child.
      ‘the poor lamb is very upset’
      • ‘Oh, the inhumanity of it all, the snobbery, the poor lamb.’
      • ‘Gary Neville's bleeding from the head, the poor lamb.’
      • ‘As for the poor lambs, well they're still being killed.’
      • ‘‘It turns out that, in the end, the British state still made a profit out of me,’ the poor lamb concluded.’
      • ‘We are poor little lambs who have lost our way.’
      • ‘However, having seen the questionnaire upon which this research is to be based, I do hope ministers, poor lambs that they are, have been included in this eminently worthwhile exercise.’
      • ‘How else would the poor lambs get a decent break before being slaughtered in the main event of the winter?’
      • ‘They seem to be okay now, though, the poor lambs.’


  • 1[no object] (of a ewe) give birth to lambs.

    ‘Shetland sheep lamb very easily’
    • ‘I should during the winter keep about 70 half bred ewes and after they have lambed in spring sell about 20, keeping the other 50 and feed the lambs to sell, getting the ewes fat after having sold the lambs, to sell also.’
    • ‘The RSPCA was the first agency to begin making a real difference to animal welfare problems when it became clear that thousands of ewes were lambing in appalling conditions, because of movement restrictions.’
    • ‘The lambs were nice and fat; Wehausen predicted that the female would be lambing by the next year.’
    • ‘I'd have to sell the sheep which would be very stressful for them because they are lambing.’
    • ‘Instead, farmers are leaving a cluster of tussock in their paddocks, because they have found that ewes like to tuck under those tussocks at the time they are lambing.’
    • ‘They took five of the ewes, and the others that hadn't lambed yet slipped their lambs from fright.’
    • ‘If the first few ewes lamb with poor milk supply - seek help and take action.’
    • ‘The sheep are lambing at the moment and if you start moving them or stressing them out they abort and you have no lambs to show for it.’
    • ‘Tim Bennett, deputy president of the National Farmers' Union was in high level talks at MAFF yesterday to ask for restrictions on lambing ewes to be lifted.’
    • ‘On Friday night last a sheep lambed and as he watched the little lambs struggle to find their footing under the careful supervision of their mother he thought how oblivious they were to the turbulent world they had just entered.’
    • ‘With ewes lambing now, lambs for slaughter are in short supply.’
    • ‘Ewes that avoided the winter range, Wehausen found, lambed a month later than those that did not, and the snows and freezing temperatures took a heavy toll on lambs forced to overwinter on the mountaintops.’
    • ‘Ewes due to lamb, cows due to calve, ran terrified through fences.’
    • ‘The Department of Agriculture has requested well known animal nutritionist Dr John Milton to prepare an overview of strategies to feed pregnant and lambing ewes.’
    1. 1.1[with object]Tend (ewes) at lambing time.
      ‘I lambed a flock of 30 ewes for a neighbour’
      • ‘Ms Wright is from Mallerstang and has spent ten years shepherding and lambing.’
      • ‘‘All the ewes are lambed inside and stay inside for about 48 hours to mother them up so that they don't get separated when they go out, hopefully into the sunshine on Bredon Hill,’ Mr Freestone said.’
      • ‘He also asked the pupils how many of them came from farms, and whether they were lambing at home.’
      • ‘Adrian Bateson is lambing on the family farm and is unavailable.’
      • ‘Selling for fat is no good to us as there is no profit in that when you lamb at this time of year.’
      • ‘How can Paul Stilgoe of the RSPCA think it is a reasonable to expect farmers to lamb all their ewes inside in order to protect them and the lambs?’
      • ‘I, for my part, have to confess to you I have a little sheep farm and I was lambing before I came here this morning.’
      • ‘Mr Chambers and his wife Wendy, who keep a herd of Hebridean sheep on their smallholding near Monkton Farleigh, are busy lambing this week.’
  • 2Australian NZ informal, dated [with object] Encourage someone to squander their money, especially on alcohol.

    ‘Pitt had been lambed down at the Pig and Whistle’


  • in lamb

    • (of a ewe) pregnant.

      ‘ewes in lamb are marked with blue paint’
      • ‘Alas, poachers have again struck in Kwelera and just a few mornings ago a bush buck ewe, in lamb, was found just at the back door of a neighbour.’
      • ‘Marauding dogs massacred ewes in lamb in Aramoho at the weekend.’
      • ‘In the biggest raid, 348 sheep were taken from a farm at Aislaby, near Whitby early on Wednesday morning; 251 of them were in lamb.’
      • ‘If they are not in lamb by that stage there is something wrong.’
      • ‘Therefore all ewes could be safely in lamb by day 47 after the ram joins the flock.’
      • ‘Hikers and dogs can also cause stress to ewes, which are heavy in lamb at this time of the year.’
      • ‘I am an ex-farmer, and was very surprised to see ewes heavy in lamb being mustered.’
      • ‘Now a fully-grown ram, registered as D' Artagnan, with the pet name Harry, he will be heading south with his ‘girlfriend’ Amanda Jane, who is in lamb, to take up residence on the Royal farm.’
      • ‘The rest of the flock are heavily in lamb but I won't be expecting any offspring as they are badly injured.’
      • ‘The ewes in lamb are being moved to safer paddocks beyond the museum, while the goats and the pony have been found temporary homes.’
  • the lamb of god (also the lamb)

    • A title of Jesus Christ (see John 1:29).

      • ‘Roman Catholics point to the same event as the sacramental center of Christian life, with the words from the Gospel of John, ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.’’
      • ‘To borrow a phrase that St. Augustine loved to use, God's deepest desire at Mass is that we become the very thing that we receive, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.’
      • ‘Did he die as the Lamb of God - an atoning sacrifice to bear away our sins?’
      • ‘With this knowledge in our grasp we understand that what has gone wrong in our world is sin, and furthermore the only way to correct his problem is to have that sin remitted by the blood of the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘Jesus Christ is ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’.’
      • ‘Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, never sinned.’
      • ‘In the Feast of the Passover we see Christ as the Lamb of God, shedding his precious blood to redeem his people.’
      • ‘Why did God forsake The Lamb of God at the very moment of His Sacrifice?’
      • ‘But was Judas necessary to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God?’
      • ‘We want our friends and neighbours to see him as he really is - not as a Hollywood hero but as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’
  • like a lamb to the slaughter

    • As a helpless victim.

      • ‘She must have known what was up when she saw the chaise but she gets in like a lamb to the slaughter.’
      • ‘For the first time the audience knows what he does not know and cannot guess, that he is going like a lamb to the slaughter.’
      • ‘I watched him move around the pre-op room, a handsome man in his scrubs, tall and strong, unlike poor me, lying there like a lamb to the slaughter.’
      • ‘I hadn't even realized we were so close to the dance floor until Jamie grabbed my hand and led me like a lamb to the slaughter, onto that floor and began to sway to the beat of the music with me in his arms.’
      • ‘But now he too is heading like a lamb to the slaughter: ‘in some far-off dawn a crumbling cross’ shall mark his gift.’
      • ‘Mike Pulsford, defending, said Penrose had arrived at court like a lamb to the slaughter knowing what sentence the youth court had already given to his accomplice.’
      • ‘I don't know what I was thinking; I went into this gig like a lamb to the slaughter.’
      • ‘I didn't know what I was doing, but I thought I did and I was like a lamb to the slaughter because of it.’
      • ‘Jesus has chosen passivity - being ‘led like a lamb to the slaughter.’’
      • ‘Thus, Labour chiefs believe Osborne will be like a lamb to the slaughter for Brown.’
      submissive, yielding, unresisting, obedient, compliant, tame, biddable, tractable, acquiescent, deferential, weak, timid, frightened, spineless, spiritless, unprotesting, like a lamb to the slaughter
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Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lam and German Lamm.