\ ˈlam How to pronounce lam (audio) \
lammed; lamming

Definition of lam

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to beat soundly : thrash

intransitive verb

1 : strike, thrash
2 : to flee hastily : scram



Definition of lam (Entry 2 of 3)

: sudden or hurried flight especially from the law on the lam

Definition of Lam (Entry 3 of 3)


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Examples of lam in a Sentence


let's lam out of this hellhole while there's still time


the prisoners were recaptured after only three days on the lam

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Photo: Reuters/Stephen lam Apple’s extravagant unveiling on Monday of AppleTV+, its new video content streaming service, unveiled very little. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Apple Doesn’t Have Prime’s Number," 26 Mar. 2019 Photo: Reuters/Stephen lam In some ways, Apple News+, the company’s new all-you-can-read news and magazine subscription service, feels like the same idea that powered the Kindle and even the original iPod. David Pierce, WSJ, "Apple News+ Is Great for Magazine Lovers, But It’s Not the Future of News," 31 Mar. 2019 Photo: Reuters/Stephen lam For a company that prides itself on never looking back, Apple Inc.’s new videogame service is based on a decidedly retro idea—getting players to pay up front. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Apple’s Arcade Is a Blast From the Past," 27 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Investigator Jack Reacher goes on the lam to uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy that involves the death of U.S. soldiers. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 An emu that Orange County workers have dubbed Eno has been on the lam for at least five weeks, traveling back and forth between Orange and Chatham counties. Scottie Andrew And Katherine Dillinger, CNN, "There's an emu on the loose in North Carolina, and nobody's been quick enough to catch it," 1 Aug. 2019 The fugitive bull remained on the lam until 6:23 a.m. Tuesday, when it was located on Nashua Road heading toward the town of Pepperell. Emily Sweeney,, "Police help capture runaway bull in Groton," 31 July 2019 Also while on the lam, Tay-K allegedly robbed and fatally shot 23-year-old Mark Saldivar at a Chick-fil-A in San Antonio on April 23, 2017, Forth Worth Star-Telegram reported. Robyn Merrett,, "Rapper Tay-K Sentenced to 55 Years for Murder After 21-Year-Old Man Was Killed During Home Invasion," 23 July 2019 The pigs fought each other and now have scratches, and two rabbits remain on the lam. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: How the famed Crystal Cathedral was reborn as a Catholic church," 11 July 2019 The clip ends with the two deciding to go on the lam. Essence, "Lena Waithe Created 'Queen & Slim' For The Black Men And Women 'Who Didn’t Make It Home'," 7 July 2019 Eleven spends most of the first season on the lam, befriending Will's buddies Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and especially Mike (Finn Wolfhard). Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "A 'Stranger Things' refresher because it's OK if you've forgotten what's happened so far," 2 July 2019 Allman was shot to death in a police gunfight after being on the lam for about a day. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, "Morgan Hill Ford Store shooting: ‘It was chaos’," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lam


1595, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


circa 1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lam


perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse lemja to thrash; akin to Old English lama lame

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Learn More about lam

Dictionary Entries near lam


La Louvière






Statistics for lam

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lam

The first known use of lam was in 1595

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More from Merriam-Webster on lam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lam

Nglish: Translation of lam for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lam

What made you want to look up lam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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