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lam2

[lam]Slang.
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noun
  1. a hasty escape; flight.
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verb (used without object), lammed, lam·ming.
  1. to run away quickly; escape; flee: I'm going to lam out of here as soon as I've finished.
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Idioms
  1. on the lam, escaping, fleeing, or hiding, especially from the police: He's been on the lam ever since he escaped from jail.
  2. take it on the lam, to flee or escape in great haste: The swindler took it on the lam and was never seen again.
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Origin of lam2

1885–90; special use of lam1. Compare beat it! be off!
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for take it on the lam

lam1

verb lams, lamming or lammed slang
  1. (tr) to thrash or beat
  2. (intr; usually foll by into or out) to make a sweeping stroke or blow
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Word Origin

C16: from Scandinavian; related to Old Norse lemja

lam2

noun
  1. a sudden flight or escape, esp to avoid arrest
  2. on the lam
    1. making an escape
    2. in hiding
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verb lams, lamming or lammed
  1. (intr) to escape or flee
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Word Origin

C19: perhaps from lam 1 (hence, to be off)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for take it on the lam

lam

n.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with take it on the lam

lam

see on the lam.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.