adjective, lam·er, lam·est.

crippled or physically disabled, especially in the foot or leg so as to limp or walk with difficulty.
impaired or disabled through defect or injury: a lame arm.
weak; inadequate; unsatisfactory; clumsy: a lame excuse.
Slang. out of touch with modern fads or trends; unsophisticated.

verb (used with object), lamed, lam·ing.

to make lame or defective.


Slang. a person who is out of touch with modern fads or trends, especially one who is unsophisticated.

Nearby words

  1. lambrequin,
  2. lambrinudi operation,
  3. lambrusco,
  4. lambskin,
  5. lamda,
  6. lame duck,
  7. lame-brain,
  8. lame-duck session,
  9. lamebrain,
  10. lamech

Origin of lame

before 900; Middle English (adj. and v.); Old English lama (adj.); cognate with Dutch lam, German lahm, Old Norse lami; akin to Lithuanian lúomas

Related formslame·ly, adverblame·ness, noun

Can be confusedlame lamé


[leym; French lam]

noun, plural lames [leym; French lam] /leɪm; French lam/. Armor.

any of a number of thin, overlapping plates composing a piece of plate armor, as a fauld, tasset, or gauntlet.

Origin of lame

1580–90; < Middle French < Latin lāmina a thin piece or plate


[lah-mey, la-; French la-mey]


an ornamental fabric in which metallic threads, as of gold or silver, are woven with silk, wool, rayon, or cotton.

Origin of lamé

1920–25; < French, equivalent to lame lame2 + < Latin -ātus -ate1

Can be confusedlame lamé Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lame

British Dictionary definitions for lame




disabled or crippled in the legs or feet
painful or weaka lame back
weak; unconvincinga lame excuse
not effective or enthusiastica lame try
US slang conventional or uninspiring


(tr) to make lame
Derived Formslamely, adverblameness, noun

Word Origin for lame

Old English lama; related to Old Norse lami, German lahm


one of the overlapping metal plates used in armour after about 1330; splint

Word Origin for lame

C16: via Old French from Latin lāmina a thin plate, lamina



  1. a fabric of silk, cotton, or wool interwoven with threads of metal
  2. (as modifier)a gold lamé gown

Word Origin for lamé

from French, from Old French lame gold or silver thread, thin plate, from Latin lāmina thin plate

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 lame
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for lame




Disabled so that movement, especially walking, is difficult or impossible.
Marked by pain or rigidness.


To cause to become lame; cripple.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.