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[lam] /læm/ Slang.

a hasty escape; flight.
verb (used without object), lammed, lamming.
to run away quickly; escape; flee:
I’m going to lam out of here as soon as I’ve finished.
on the lam, escaping, fleeing, or hiding, especially from the police:
He’s been on the lam ever since he escaped from jail.
take it on the lam, to flee or escape in great haste:
The swindler took it on the lam and was never seen again.
verb (slang) lams, lamming, lammed
(transitive) to thrash or beat
(intransitive; usually foll by into or out) to make a sweeping stroke or blow
a sudden flight or escape, esp to avoid arrest
on the lam

verb lams, lamming, lammed
(intransitive) to escape or flee

“flight,” as in on the lam, 1897, from a U.S. slang verb meaning “to run off” (1886), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow from the first element of lambaste, which was used in British student slang for “beat” since 1590s; if so, it would give the word the same etymological sense as the slang expression beat it.


Related Terms

on the lam, take it on the lam

[1886+ Underworld; ultimately fr British sense ”beat,” found by 1596, hence the same semantically as beat it]
see: on the lam


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