Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lamb n.1

[note Williams for 17C use of lamb as a novice whore]

1. a simpleton, a fool, esp. one easily cheated of their money; also attrib.

[UK]J. Taylor ‘Iacke a Lent’ in Works (1869) I 116: It is Lents intent, that the innocent Lambe and the Essex calfe, should suruiue to weare the crest of their Ancestors: that the Goose, the Buzzard, the Widgeon, and the Woodcocke, may walke fearlesse in any market Towne.
[UK]Nicker Nicked in Harleian Misc. II (1809) 109: When a young gentleman or apprentice comes into this school of virtue unskilled in the quibbles and devices there practised, they call him a lamb; then a rook (who is properly the wolf) follows him close and [...] gets all his money, and then they smile and say, ‘The lamb is bitten’.
[UK]C. Cotton Compleat Gamester 8: They can discover some unexperienc’d young gentleman [...] that is come to this School of Virtue, being unskill’d in the quibbles and devices there being practised; these they call Lambs, or Colls.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 12 Feb. n.p.: He partakes of all the passive qualities of the lamb, at least in his researches after mutton.
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 214: ‘Fast’ society, where animals turn into birds, where a wolf becomes a rook, and a lamb a pigeon.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 57: One [mock auction hoax] bore the appropriate title of ‘The Golden Fleece’, the public supplying the lambs.
[UK]Aberdeen Eve. Exp. 4 Aug. n.p.: Mr Fresh (the silly ‘bloke’), / Who does his cash in Wall Street soak, / And goes home later, flat-dead broke — That’s a lamb.
[UK]J. Caminada Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life I 367: They immediately proceeded to post a staff of ‘lambs’ round the door to resist any effort on the part of the police to enter.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Oct. 15/1: Did yer never spend an evenin’ waitin’ fer a lamb ter shout, / Or ’angin’ round the Palace till the Gaiety come out?
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 Nov. 1/1: A well-known Flat booky’s poker parlour is known as the ‘Shearing Shed’ [and] the boss invites all lambs to come in and be shorn.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Dec. 30/4: [M]any came out of curiosity, expecting to see a roaring spree, with Jimmy for the lamb.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl.
[US]R. Fisher Conjure-Man Dies 273: Aw man, quit talkin’ lamb-yap.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]E. Shepard Doom Pussy 231: They invited the ‘lamb’ to sit in. We played [poker] for the whole seven-hour trip.

2. a prostitute.

[UK]‘No Meat Like Mutton’ in Fanny Hill’s Bang-Up Reciter in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 312: You cannot tell the number of half the lambs you meet! / You may have your choice of fat or lean, they’ll never take affront, / And suit your taste and pocket with a prime bit of — mutton!
[UK]Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: FRENCH INTRODUCING HOUSES. [...] The neighbourhood of Leicester Square [...] Covent Garden; [...] Fitzroy Square — are localities were these importers of French mutton, lamb, and chicken set up their shambles.
[[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 5 Oct. 8/3: Banner, with motto ‘Sheep’s meat too good for niggers’].

3. (US) a young woman, a girlfriend.

Boston Blade (Boston, MA) 10 June n.p.: I’m Mose’s prize lamb, and nothin’ shorter.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. 20 Oct. 6/4: [headline] Rev. Myers ‘Skips’ with a Lamb’ [...] the elopement of the Rev. W.H. Myers, a Methodist clergyman [...] with Mrs Ralph Price, the young wife of a paperhanger.

4. a rough, a thug.

[UK]Sportsman 3 Nov. 2/1: Notes on News [...] The Sheffielders, following the role of the Nottingham ‘lambs,’ afterwards so charmingly illustrated by the rowdies of the London ring [etc].
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 260: One of two Nottingham ‘lambs,’ i.e., roughs, who were looking on.

5. (mainly US prison, also kid lamb) a young homosexual boy, esp. one who accompanies a tramp.

[US]N. Anderson Hobo 99: The term ‘punk’ [...] had a special meaning at one time but is beginning to have a milder and more general use and the term ‘lamb’ is taking its place.
[US]T. Minehan Boy and Girl Tramps of America (1976) 143: I have seen wolves and their little ‘lambs’ or ‘fairies,’ and their relationship seems to be one of mutual satisfaction.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 106: an ‘Angelina’, a ‘chicken’, or a ‘lamb’ is a boy who travels around with an older tramp for homosexual purposes.
[US]Ward & Kassebaum Women’s Prison 191: [ref. to male prisons] Some wolves [...] ply the prospective punk, kid or lamb [...] with gifts and favors.
[US]Maledicta III:2 221: Only a criminal might know that a lamb is a chicken who is the victim of some kid-simple prison pedicator, a rapacious jocker or wolf.

6. (US black) an innocent.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 25: A Lamb’s unhipped beg on Santa’s fine sack.
[US](con. early 1930s) C. McKay Harlem Glory (1990) 52: Oh, jest listen to the lamb [...] why, man, every time that woman looks at you I sees love shining in her eyes.
[US]M. Shulman Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1959) 11: The New York commuters, also called the lambs, or the pigeons, or the patsies.

In compounds

SE in slang uses

In compounds

lamb chop (n.)

a term of affection; usu. of a woman, occas. a man.

[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 14: Women, again, often are characterized as edible objects. Cookie, cupcake, lamb chop, sugar, sweetie pie, (hot) tamale, tart, and tomato.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 159: Yo not a badass [...] you jus’ a great big lamb chop.
lamb pit (n.)

the vagina.

[US]Southern & Hoffenberg Candy (1970) 72: The scalloped V, beneath which pulsed Candy’s precious little lamb-pit.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 17: ‘Who wants a taste of my lamb-pit?!?’ she screeched.
lambskin man (n.) [the ermine-bordered robes]

a judge.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Lamb-skin-men, c. the Judges of the several Courts.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[[UK]Foote Devil Upon Two Sticks in Works (1799) II 271: Carry him before the men clothed in lambskin, who [...] are now sitting in judgement].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[Aus]N.Y. National Advocate 14 Nov. 2/3: The Philistines, it is said, knew nothing of the affair till it was all over; so that the lamb-skin men have taken no notice of it.
[UK]W.H. Smith ‘The Thieves’s Chaunt’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 121: And I never funks the lambskin men, / When I sits with her in the boozing ken.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
lamb’s tongue (n.) (US prison)

1. $1.

[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Prison Parlance’ in AS IX:1 27: lamb’s tongue. One dollar.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
see sense 2 below.

2. a $5 bill.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 121/2: Lamb’s tongue. (West, Central, Southwest) 1. A five-dollar bill. [...] 2. (Rarely) A one-dollar bill.

In phrases

holy lamb (n.) [a pun on Lat. agnus dei, the lamb of God, used as the first words of the Catholic mass. The term lamb was given to the particularly violent troops led by the soldier of fortune Colonel Percy Kirke in 1684–6. Their flag carried an image of the paschal lamb, known in heraldry as the holy lamb, and the troops were known as ‘Kirke’s lambs’. Lambs also referred to gangs of thugs used to intimidate voters at 19C elections, e.g. the ‘Nottingham lambs’, which flourished 1860–70]

(Irish) a complete and utter villain.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.