on the lam


to be running from the law

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

‘’Ted Sioeng poured some $250,000 into campaign coffers, and has recently been ON THE LAM from nosy investigators.’’

Editorial - The Wall Street Journal

Did you
know?

on the lam
phrase - mainly US (informal)

Running away, especially from the police (as in “He’s always in some kind of trouble and perpetually on the lam.”)

Dictionary dot com


ORIGIN

In his 1886 book "30 Years a Detective", Allan Pinkerton, the first private eye, explains an operation of pickpockets: "After he secures the wallet, he will utter the word 'lam'! This means to let the man go and to get out of the way as soon as possible.’’

Early 20th century precursors of the phrase were: do a lam, make a lam, and take a lam – these finally morphed into the current passive state of “being on the lam”.


56 YEARS ON THE LAM

In Melbourne, Florida, Frank Freshwaters’ long run at freedom came to an end with a knock on his door.

It was then that the grey-bearded man living under the alias of William Cox in an old trailer home tucked away in the wild lands just west of Melbourne stared ahead at an officer from the County Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy held up a black and white picture of a fresh-faced 23-year-old and asked Cox if he had ever seen the young man.

"I haven’t seen him in a long while”, said Cox, who had been on the run since 1959.


SYNONYMS

- Someone who has broken the law, especially one who remains at large or is a fugitive
- Someone who has escaped from captivity, or is in hiding
- Someone skilled at escaping
- Someone who has been excluded from a society or system

abandoner, absconder, abscotchalater, absentee, apostate, AWOL, bolter, defector, derelict, deserter, displaced person, dissident, dodger, escaped prisoner, escapee, escaper, exile, fare-dodger, fleer, fly-by-night, forsaker, heretic, hookey player, hunted person, insurgent, jail-breaker, lamster, maroon, missing person, mutineer, no-show, outcast, outlaw, quitter, recluse, refugee, renegade, runagate, runaway, in escape status, ON THE LAM, on the run, stowaway, stray, truant, turnabout, walkout, wanted person


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Did you know that Roman Polanski was ON THE LAM for 31 years before being arrested in Switzerland in 2009?”


THANKS to Jacky for suggesting today’s word!


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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