Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lamp v.2

[lamp n.1 ]

1. (orig. US, also lam, lamp up) to look at, to assess visually.

[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 197: ‘De first t’ing I lamp to in de paper is w’ere dey’s a mob o’ stick-up guys breakin’ into booze joints around town’.
[US]Lippincott’s Monthly Mag. (Phila.) Oct. 503: When I lamps on top to see what was going on, there was Fat .
[US]Spokane Press (WA) 22 Sept. 7/3: He stops to lamp up a bunch of red neckties in a glass front (shop window).
H.G. van Campen ‘Life on Broadway’ in McClures Mag. Aug. 198/2: Flossie. Would you figger that a ball-player’s word could be took by a lady? Evangeline. I'd have to lamp his contract first.
[US]E. O’Neill The Movie Man in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 190: There’s some class to some of the dames down here. You ought to have seen the bear I lamped this afternoon.
[US]M. Levin Reporter 377: Then Blackjack lamps Stew Hardy sitting by the table.
[US]C. Himes ‘A Nigger’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 32: Big Mama May [...] lamped the lain when he drew up.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 21: Thou hast more than a Cat can lam / In the reach of gim and gam.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 261: I lamped the engraved card he handed me.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 168: Lamp his eyes – he’s like a half-baked Chow.
‘Don Elliott’ Gang Girl (2011) 24: They looked them [i.e. magazines] over for free, lamping the pictures and putting them back in the rack.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 28: Bent poker games with Marchmare and me lamping each other’s broads.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 156: Then he lamped me in no uncertain terms.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 7: ‘What is the ask?’ he said as he lamped her pointed brace and bits poking out from the skimpy dicky dirt showing her bare comic cuts.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 264: The Chinese gangster just lamped him with a freezedried smile.
[Ire]D. Healy Sudden Times 239: He’s lamping me. It’s tricky.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mystery Bay Blues 56: The boke seemed friendly enough and he hadn’t lamped Les from the fight.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 77: You didn’t see a lot of guys in suits and ties on the dock, so Frank lamped Bap right away as something different.

2. to consider, to think about [the image is of watching other people].

[UK]J. Phelan Tramp at Anchor 151: I had ‘lamped a stoppo’ — i.e., I had been hoping to escape.
[US]Da Bomb [Internet] 17: Lamping: To daydream.

3. (US black/campus) to loiter, to ‘hang out’, to relax while others panic.

[US]G. Tate ‘Public Enemy’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 131: Ice-T and Big Daddy Kane are lamping by a limo.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 62/2: We wasn’t loitering nothin’, Officer; we just lampin’.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan./Feb. 54: To ‘lamp’ or be ‘lampin’ isn’t in very common usage these days [...] it was Flavor who single-handedly popularised this phrase on the Public Enemy track ‘Flavor Flav Cold Lampin’, which means to chill out and relax.
The Game ‘They Don’t Want None’ [lyrics] Lampin in Belize, Louis Vuitton duffel bags.