[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]
[late 18C–19C] (Irish) a complete and utter villain.