lamster

noun lam·ster \ ˈlam(p)-stər \

Definition of lamster

:a fugitive especially from the law

lamster was our Word of the Day on 08/15/2017. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Lamsters as a class are probably as old as the law from which they flee, but the term "lamster" didn't sneak into our language until the early 1900s, less than ten years after the appearance of the noun lam, meaning "sudden or hurried flight especially from the law" (as in the phrase "on the lam"). Both words have an old verb relation, though. "Lam" has meant "to beat soundly" or "to strike or thrash" since the late 16th century, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it developed another meaning: "to flee hastily." The origins of the verb are obscure, but etymologists suggest that it is Scandinavian in origin and akin to the Old Norse lemja, meaning "to thrash."

Origin and Etymology of lamster

2lam + -ster


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!