What Does On The Lam Mean, And Where Did The Expression Come From?


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Shane Richardson Profile
'On the lam', or 'on the lamb' as some people spell it, really means 'someone on the run'. It is said to have originated in the United States in the gangster era and was used to describe fellow gangsters who were escaping from danger or arrest.

There are some different theories on exactly why they said 'on the lam', but a general consensus seems to suggest that it is taken from the Icelandic word that means to 'beat soundly'. People believe that this was then used with the slang saying such as 'beat it' in the terms of making a very quick exit.

Although not used as often today, 'on the lam' certainly sums up a very common action in today's society. Like many words and phrases it can only take a certain film to bring it right back into fashion.

Many groups, especially teenagers, try and have their own slang or 'street talk'. When you study a lot of what is used, there is normally quite a bit of history and interesting origins to the slang.

You may find some websites that contain a lot of sayings and what they really mean of interest. Try any of the following websites:

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Its an American slang, usually used by or in relation to the mafia.It means running away from the police (or authorities).

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