Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lam v.1

also lamb, lambo, lamm, lamme
[linked to ON lemja, to lame, as a result of a beating]

1. to beat or strike; thus lambing/lamming n., a beating; lam out v., to lash out.

[UK]Dekker Shoemaker’s Holiday V ii: Oh if they had stay’d, I would have so lamb’d them with flouts!
Beaumont & Fletcher King and No King V iii: Lamm’d you shall be ere we leave you. You ashall be beaten sober.
[UK]Rowley, Dekker & Ford Witch of Edmonton II i: That wrong’d thee: he lam’d thee, call’d thee Witch.
J. Mabbe Celestina IX 111: They will not sticke to strip them and lamme them soundly, bestowing perhaps a 100 stripes .
H. Misson Memoirs of Travels over England 306: I once saw the late Duke of Grafton at Fisticuffs in the open Street, with such a Fellow, whom he lambed most horribly.
[UK]C. Coffey Devil to Pay II i: Come to your Spinning, or else I’ll lamb you, you ne’er were so lamb’d since you were an Inch long.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. (5th edn).
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Lamb, to lamb, [...] to beat.
[UK]W. Perry Only Sure Guide 167: Lamm, v. to beat soundly.
[UK] ‘George Barnwell Travestie’ in H. Smith Rejected Addresses 121: I would pummel and lam her well.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].
[US]A. Greene Glance at N.Y. II i: When them fellers come mussin’ round me, I’ll lam ’em.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall II 216: Mr. Jorrocks turned sideways in his saddle, and gave Dickey a good lamming in the ribs.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. V 46: If I know’d who did this, I’d lam him – I’d lam him ’till he couldn’t say a prayer!
[US]W.C. Hall ‘Mike Hooter’s Bar Story’ Spirit of the Times 26 Jan. (N.Y.) 581: While Ike was lammin’ the dogs, I hearn the allfiredest cracklin’ in the cane.
[Aus]W. Kelly Life in Victoria I 59: The row brought a mob of drunken men and women, all of whom [...] expressed their anxiety to adopt the host’s quarrel, and ‘lamb us’.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Down in Tennessee 99: I’ll lamm ye till yer whiter nur Squire Robins’ old mar.
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitsmann in Italy’ Hans Breitmann in Europe 275: De briest vere so astonish, / To see him lam de man, / Dat dey shvore a holy miracle / Vas vork by Breitemann.
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Nov. 514: There was a little old lady [...] shrilly expressing her belief that I was ‘one of them Jesuits,’ and openly declaring her desire to ‘lam’ me.
[US]J. Harrison ‘Negro English’ in Anglia VII 274: To gib or give er lammin’ = to chastise.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 73: If he sees me comin’ in at the front ’e’d lam me somefink cruel.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’ in Roderick (1972) 550: If yer don’t shake hands with Wilson I’ll lamb yer!
[US]Vanguard Library 31 Mar. 7: Don’t forget how I came to your assistance when Scales was lamming you!
[UK]C. Mackenzie Sinister Street I 98: Pearson and me are going to jolly well lam him.
[UK]Kipling ‘Regulus’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 172: Why couldn’t you say there was something wrong with you instead of lamming out like a lunatic?
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 22: Don’t let ’em see yer gives a blow, or they’ll lam it on yer!
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Scalp Hunter’ in Action Stories Aug. [Internet] That lammin’ they gimme in Grizzly Claw has plumb addled my brains.
[UK]E. Raymond Child of Norman’s End (1967) 85: They would lure him to a quiet place and there give him a lambing.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 122: Supposing he found the emeralds all right and somebody lammed him on the head and took them off him.
[US]Botkin Lay My Burden Down 30: The way that gal lam me across the head was a caution!
[Aus]D. Stivens Scholarly Mouse and other Tales 67: [He] was still lamming his bar home.
[UK]H. Livings Nil Carborundum (1963) Act I: Howd they peace, Margit, else I s’all lam thee.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 106: Isn’t that what I was trying to tell you when he lammed me!

2. (US) to defeat in a fight or sporting contest.

[US]letter q. in Wiley Life of Billy Yank (1952) 170: [of baseball] We get lamed badly.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 22: He could lam any galoot of his inches in America.

3. (Aus.) to swindle.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 17/3: The quiet-looking bushman, who had meanwhile been painting the town red, was arrested, and on him was found £600 of the money. He had been ‘lambed’ to the tune of £300.

4. to throw, to toss, to smash against.

[US]R. Lardner ‘Horseshoes’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 268: Doyle catches one just right and lams it against the fence.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 130: Kenny lammed a bottle of milk against the wall.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 421: De foist t’ing I know somebody lams a broom out of a winder.
[US]C. McCullers Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1986) 24: And so he were l-lamming his fist against this here brick w-w-w-all.

5. in fig. use, to do perfunctorily, fast.

[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 130: I finished it last evening! Just lammed it out.

In phrases

lam (it) into (v.) [the term began life as UK sl. but crossed the Atlantic to reappear in criminal milieux]

1. to beat up.

[US]Nation 26 284/1: He had ‘to go light on Fairchild’ and ‘lam it into Hayes’.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Vice Versa (1931) 70: Let him undress now, and we can lam it into him afterwards with slippers.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 207: Hoofy just gets his hair blazing and lams into you and yells for help.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 185: Lam into him, Bendy.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 216: Go on, lam into him.

2. to do something aggressively, wholeheartedly.

[UK] ‘’Arry on Wheels’ in Punch 7 May 217/1: I’ve took to the bicycle, yus [...] / You should see me lam into it, Charlie, along a smooth bit o’ straight road.

3. to attack verbally.

[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 137: I suspected the facile flash of the superficial, generalized savant. so I lammed into him.
[UK]‘John le Carré’ Honourable Schoolboy 254: Didn’t stop Drake lamming into him, all the same.