take it on lam


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

1885–90; special use of lam1. Compare beat it! be off!

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lam1 (læm)
vb , lams, lamming, lammed
1.  (tr) to thrash or beat
2.  (intr; usually foll by into or out) to make a sweeping stroke or blow
[C16: from Scandinavian; related to Old Norse lemja]

lam2 (læm)
1.  a sudden flight or escape, esp to avoid arrest
2.  on the lam
 a.  making an escape
 b.  in hiding
vb , lams, lamming, lammed
3.  (intr) to escape or flee
[C19: perhaps from lam1 (hence, to be off)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"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 1596; if so, it would give the word the same etymological sense as beat it.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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