"flight," together in top top the lam, 1897, from a U.S. Slang verb definition "to run off" (1886), of uncertain origin, possibly somehow indigenous the very first element that lambaste, which was offered in British student slang for "beat" since 1590s.

Does anyone understand of any type of other explanations?


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New come me, however the OED provides it as us slang and from the verb ‘lam’, meaning ‘to run off, come escape’, which, again, is us slang. The beginning sems to it is in in an Old Norse native which is cognate with ‘lame’.

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This inquiry was posted in 2011, yet apparently there had actually been researches on the etymology that this term the haven"t been debated in present answers. Over there is a 1998 write-up on this exact topic in The new York times Magazine: ~ above Language; on the Lam, who Made Thee? By wilhelm SAFIRE, march 1, 1998:

In The Random home Historical dictionary of American Slang, J.E. Lighter specifies the term as prison lingo because that ""an act of running or flight, esp. A dash come escape from custody."" In his 1886 ""30 year a Detective,"" Allan Pinkerton, the first ""private eye,"" describes an operation of pickpockets: ""After the secures the wallet, he will utter words "lam!" This means to let the man go and to get out that the method as shortly as possible."" Lighter cites execute a lam, make a lam and take a lam at an early stage in this century, finally emerging as the passive state of gift on the lam.

And the OED"s info on its Scandinavian origin is echoed here:

Lighter speculates that it might be rooted in the dialect Scandinavian verb lam, together in the 1525 ""his mam sore lamming him,"" definition ""to beat, pound or strike."" note Twain provided it twice: ""lamming the lady"" in 1855 and also ""lam choose all creation"" in 1865, both plainly meaning ""to beat."" The said connection is the to stop a fear lamming (related to slamming), one lams.

So this theory speculates the there"s the verb lam first, attested by mark Twain"s usage of the word in his books. Then probably a new an interpretation evolved out of the verb: in order to not acquire lammed, one go on the lam.

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Other theories additionally exist:

At the university of Missouri at Rolla, Gerald Cohen, a professor of international languages currently at job-related on a slang dictionary, has an additional theory. He note the i do not know lammas in Eric Partridge"s dictionary of the Underworld, the lingo that costermongers in London about 1855, conversely spelled nammou, definition ""to depart, esp. Furtively"" and also related to vamoose in the lingo that the American West.

""Namase through its variant spellings,"" Cohen says, ""was the typical cant term for "leave/make off/depart/skedaddle." i don"t understand why nam came to be lam, however the interpretations are the same.""