The verb lam has two meanings: to hit or to run away. If you see a bully making little kids cry, you may be tempted to lam him in the nose and then lam before he can retaliate.

The British slang meaning of lam, "hit or beat," is the oldest one, dating from the 16th century. It stems from an Old Norse root that means "to beat" or "to make lame." The newer, North American definition, "escape," can also be used as a noun: "After he stole his cousin's car he went on the lam." Experts trace this meaning back to slang used by pickpockets.

Definitions of lam
  1. verb
    give a thrashing to; beat hard
    synonyms: flail, thrash, thresh
    annihilate, bat, clobber, cream, drub, lick, thrash
    beat thoroughly and conclusively in a competition or fight
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    type of:
    beat, beat up, work over
    give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression
  2. verb
    flee; take to one's heels; cut and run
    synonyms: break away, bunk, escape, fly the coop, head for the hills, hightail it, run, run away, scarper, scat, take to the woods, turn tail
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    flee, fly, take flight
    run away quickly
    run away, as if in a panic
    make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing
    run away in a stampede
    abscond, absquatulate, bolt, decamp, go off, make off, run off
    run away; usually includes taking something or somebody along
    elope, run off
    run away secretly with one's beloved
    break loose, escape, get away
    run away from confinement
    retreat at full speed
    defect, desert
    desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army
    type of:
    go away, go forth, leave
    go away from a place
  3. noun
    a rapid escape (as by criminals)
    synonyms: getaway
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    type of:
    escape, flight
    the act of escaping physically
Word Family

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