\ 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

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 Here, a psychopath on the lam (William Talman) holds hostage two buddies, O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy, who must weigh their fealty to each other against survival. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Celebrating a Film Pioneer at 100," 6 Nov. 2018 On the lam, Cal has a lightsaber and some rudimentary Force powers at the start, but will presumably develop those skills over time. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order revealed at Star Wars Celebration with a story-centric trailer," 13 Apr. 2019 After 26 years on the lam and another year in jail, infamous drug smuggler Gustavo Falcon wrote the federal judge who would decide his fate a letter confessing shame and regret. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Once a fugitive, Gustavo Falcon imprisoned 11 years for past as 'Cocaine Cowboy'," 25 Apr. 2018 After being on the lam in Europe for more than 15 years, he was extradited to the U.S. to be convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Behind the Photo That Made People Think Earth Day Was Founded by a Convicted Killer," 20 Apr. 2018

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).


something desired as essential

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