Etymology
Advertisement
lam (n.)
"flight, escape," as in on the lam, 1928, in pickpocket slang, (according to OED attested from 1897 in do a lam), from a U.S. slang verb meaning "to run off" (1886), of uncertain origin, but perhaps from lam (v.), which was used in British student slang for "to beat" since 1590s (compare lambaste); if so, the word has the same etymological sense as the slang expression beat it.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
lam (v.)
also lamm, "to thrash, beat," 1590s, a slang, provincial or colloquial word, probably from Old Norse lemja "to beat," literally "to lame," which is cognate with the native verb lame (see lame (adj.)). Related: Lammed; lamming.
Related entries & more 
lambaste (v.)
1630s, apparently from baste "to thrash" (see baste (v.3)) + the obscure verb lam "to beat, to lame" or the related Elizabethan noun lam "a heavy blow" (implied by 1540s in puns on lambskin). Compare earlier lamback "to beat, thrash" (1580s, used in old plays). A dictionary from c. 1600 defines Latin defustare as "to lamme or bumbast with strokes." Related: Lambasted; lambasting.
Related entries & more 
slalom (n.)
1921, from Norwegian slalam "skiing race," literally "sloping track," from sla "slope" + lam "track" (related to Norwegian laan "a row of houses;" compare lane).
Related entries & more 
palm (n.1)

"flat of the hand, inner surface of the hand between the wrist and the fingers," c. 1300, paume, from Old French paume, palme (Modern French paume), from Latin palma "palm of the hand," also "flat end of an oar; palm tree," from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread" (source also of Greek palamē "open hand," Old Irish lam, Welsh llaw, Old English folm, Old High German folma "hand," Sanskrit panih "hand, hoof").

Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (1620s) than in the literal sense of "fatty oil obtained from the fruit of the West African palm" (1705, from palm (n.2)).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
loam (n.)

Old English lam "clay, mud, clayey or muddy earth," from Proto-Germanic *laimaz (source also of Old Saxon lemo, Dutch leem, German Lehm "loam"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slimy" (source also of Latin limus "mud;" see slime (n.)).

In early use also the stuff from which God made man in His image. As the technical name for a type of highly fertile clayey soil, it is attested from 1660s. As a verb from c. 1600. Related: Loamed; loaming. Loamshire as a name for an imaginary typical rural English county is from "Adam Bede" (1859).

Related entries & more 
lamentation (n.)

late 14c., from Old French lamentacion "lamentation, plaintive cry," and directly from Latin lamentationem (nominative lamentatio) "a wailing, moaning, a weeping," noun of action from past-participle stem of lamentari "to wail, moan, weep," from lamentum "a wailing," from an extended form of PIE root *la- "to shout, cry," which probably is imitative. De Vaan compares Sanskrit rayati "barks," Armenian lam "to weep, bewail;" Lithuanian loti, Old Church Slavonic lajati "to bark, scold;" Gothic lailoun "they scolded."

It replaced Old English cwiþan. The biblical book of Lamentations (late 14c.) is short for Lamentations of Jeremiah, from Latin Lamentationes (translating Greek Threnoi), from lamentatio "a wailing, moaning, weeping."

Related entries & more 
lame (adj.)

Old English lama "crippled, lame; paralytic, weak," from Proto-Germanic *lama- "weak-limbed" (source also of Old Norse lami "lame, maimed," Dutch and Old Frisian lam, German lahm "lame"), literally "broken," from PIE root *lem- "to break; broken," with derivatives meaning "crippled" (source also of Old Church Slavonic lomiti "to break," Lithuanian luomas "lame").

In Middle English especially "crippled in the feet," but also "crippled in the hands; disabled by disease; maimed." Figurative sense of "imperfect" is from late 14c. Sense of "socially awkward" is attested from 1942. Noun meaning "crippled persons collectively" is in late Old English. To come by the lame post (17c.-18c.) was an old colloquialism in reference to tardy mails or news out-of-date.

Related entries & more 
lamb (n.)

Old English lamb, lomb, Northumbrian lemb "lamb," from Proto-Germanic *lambaz (source also of Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Gothic lamb, Middle Dutch, Dutch lam, Middle High German lamp, German Lamm "lamb"). Common to the Germanic languages, but with no certain cognates outside them. The -b has probably been silent since 13c.

The Old English plural was sometimes lambru. A symbol of Christ (Lamb of God), typified by the paschal lamb, from late Old English. Applied to gentle or innocent persons (especially young Church members) from late Old English; from mid-15c. of persons easy to cheat ("fleece"). Also sometimes used ironically for cruel or rough characters (such as Kirke's Lambs in Monmouth's rebellion, 1684-86, "an ironical allusion to the device of the Paschal Lamb on their flag" [OED]); Farmer and Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues") say "specifically applied to Nottingham roughs, and hence to bludgeon men at elections." Diminutive form lambie is attested from 1718. Lamb's-wool is from 1550s as a noun, 1825 (also lambswool) as an adjective.

Related entries & more 
hand (n.)

Old English hond, hand "the human hand;" also "side, part, direction" (in defining position, to either right or left); also "power, control, possession" (on the notion of the hand's grip or hold), from Proto-Germanic *handuz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch, German hand, Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus), which is of uncertain origin.

The original Old English plural handa was superseded in Middle English by handen, later hands. Indo-European "hand" words tend to be from roots meaning "seize, take, collect" or are extended from words originally meaning only a part of the hand (such as Irish lam, Welsh llaw, cognate with Latin palma and originally meaning "palm of the hand"). One ancient root (*man- (2)), represented by Latin manus is the source of Old English mund "hand," but more usually meaning "protection, guardianship; a protector, guardian."

Meaning "manual worker, person who does something with his hands" is from 1580s, hence "hired workman" (1630s) and "sailor in a ship's crew" (1660s). Meaning "agency, part in doing something" is from 1590s. Clock and watch sense is from 1570s. Meaning "round of applause" is from 1838. The linear measure of 4 inches (originally 3) is from 1560s, now used only in giving the height of horses. The meaning "playing cards held in one player's hand" is from 1620s; that of "a round at a card game" is from 1620s. Meaning "handwriting" is from late 14c.; also "one's style of penmanship" (early 15c.). The word in reference to the various uses of hands in making a pledge is by c. 1200; specifically "one's pledge of marriage" by late 14c.

First hand, second hand, etc. (mid-15c.) are from the notion of something being passed from hand to hand. At hand is from c. 1200 as "near in time," c. 1300 as "within reach." Out of hand (1590s) is opposite of in hand "under control" (c. 1200). Adverbial phrase hand-over-fist (1803) is nautical, suggestive of hauling or climbing by passing the hands one before the other alternately.

Phrase on the one hand ... on the other hand is recorded from 1630s, a figurative use of the physical sense of hand in reference to position on one side or the other side of the body (as in the lefthand side), which goes back to Old English Hands up! as a command from a policeman, robber, etc., is from 1863, from the image of holding up one's hands as a token of submission or non-resistance. Hand-to-hand "in close contact," of fighting, is from c. 1400. Hand-to-mouth "said of a person who spends his money as fast as he gets it, who earns just enough to live on from day to day" [Bartlett] is from c. 1500. Hand-in-hand attested from c. 1500 as "with hands clasped;" figurative sense of "concurrently" recorded from 1570s.

Related entries & more