lamb

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be as gentle as a lamb

To be pleasant, caring, and calm. My rambunctious son is as gentle as a lamb with our cat. Mr. Stewart may seem crotchety, but he's as gentle as a lamb—he's actually helped me carry my groceries many times.
See also: gentle, lamb

like a lamb

Gently and calmly; without c complaint or resistance. We had a lot of trouble getting Bobby to go to play school, but after he made a few friends, he now goes like a lamb.
See also: lamb, like

mutton dressed (up) as lamb

A disparaging term for an older woman who tries unsuccessfully to look much younger or else finds herself attractive in the style of younger women. Primarily heard in UK. I don't know what she's thinking wearing a dress like that. She looks like mutton dressed as lamb!
See also: dress, lamb, mutton

like a lamb to (the) slaughter

Without concern for what is to come (because one does not foresee the trouble ahead). This phrase comes from the Bible. When I did business with Michael, I was like a lamb to the slaughter—I had no idea he was such a criminal mastermind.
See also: lamb, like, slaughter

might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

One might as well commit a worse offense, since the punishment will remain the same. (In the past, theft of a sheep was punishable by death.) I've already blown most of my savings, so what's another $100? Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
See also: hanged, lamb, might, sheep, well

in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

Very quickly. If you don't get down here in two shakes, I'm going to tell your supervisor about this. Don't worry, I'll pick you up in two shakes of a lamb's tail!
See also: shake, two

on the lam

Running away from the police as a fugitive. The wanted pair have been on the lam for a week, with no leads as to their whereabouts.
See also: lam, on

*gentle as a lamb

Cliché [of someone] very gentle. (*Also: as ~.) Don't be afraid of Mr. Schaeffer. He may look fierce, but he's as gentle as a lamb. Lisa was gentle as a lamb when dealing with children.
See also: gentle, lamb

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

Fig. in a very short time; very quickly. Jane returned in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Mike was able to solve the problem in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
See also: of, shake, tail, two

*innocent as a lamb

 and *innocent as a newborn babe 
1. guiltless. (*Also: as ~.) "Hey! You can't throw me in jail," cried the robber. "I'm innocent as a lamb."
2. naive; inexperienced. (*Also: as ~.) She's eighteen years old, but innocent as a newborn babe.
See also: innocent, lamb

like lambs to the slaughter

 and like a lamb to the slaughter
Fig. quietly and without seeming to realize the likely difficulties or dangers of a situation. Young men fighting in World War I simply went like lambs to the slaughter. Our team went on the football field like lambs to the slaughter to meet the league-leaders.
See also: lamb, like, slaughter

March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb,

 and In like a lion, out like a lamb.
Prov. The month of March usually starts with cold, unpleasant weather, but ends mild and pleasant. (Either part of the proverb can be used alone.) March certainly is coming in like a lion this year; there's been a snowstorm every day this week. Jill: Today is March twenty-fifth, and it's beautiful and warm outside, when just two weeks ago, everything was covered with ice. Jane: In like a lion and out like a lamb, all right.
See also: and, come, goes, lamb, like, march, out

*meek as a lamb

[of someone] shy, quiet, and docile. (*Also: as ~.) Only an hour after their argument, Joe went to Elizabeth and, meek as a lamb, asked her to forgive him. Betsy terrorizes the other children, but she's as meek as a lamb around her elders.
See also: lamb, meek

might as well be hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb

Rur. might as well commit a large fault as a small one, since the same punishment will result. I'll take the expensive fishing rod. My wife will be mad at me no matter how much I spend, so I might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.
See also: hung, lamb, might, sheep, well

on the lam

running from the police. (Underworld.) Richard has been on the lam for a week now. The gang leader broke out of prison and is still on the lam.
See also: lam, on

two shakes of a lamb's tail

Fig. quickly; rapidly. I'll be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail. In two shakes of a lamb's tail, the entire pile of bricks had collapsed.
See also: of, shake, tail, two

hanged for a sheep as a lamb, might as well be

Might just as well be punished for a big misdeed as a small one. For example, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and have a third piece of cake-I've gone off my diet anyhow . Already a proverb in John Ray's 1678 collection, this expression alludes to the old punishment for stealing sheep, which was hanging no matter what the age or size of the animal.
See also: hanged, might, sheep, well

in two shakes

Also, in two shakes of a lamb's tail Very quickly, very soon, as in I'll be with you in two shakes, or She'll be finished in two shakes of a lamb's tail. The longer idiom alludes to the friskiness of lambs; the shorter one may be an abbreviation of the longer one, or it may refer to the shaking of dice or any two quick movements. [Early 1800s]
See also: shake, two

like a lamb to the slaughter

Also, as lambs to the slaughter. Innocently and helplessly, without realizing the danger. For example, She agreed to appeal to the board, little knowing she would go like a lamb to the slaughter . This expression appears in several biblical books (Isaiah, Jeremiah), and the simile itself was used by Chaucer.
See also: lamb, like, slaughter

on the lam

Running away, especially from the police, as in He's always in some kind of trouble and perpetually on the lam. The origin of this slangy term of the 1800s is not known.
See also: lam, on

gentle as a lamb

If someone is as gentle as a lamb, they are very kind and never become angry or aggressive. Brian was as gentle as a lamb and wouldn't hurt anyone. Verdy was as gentle as a lamb off the field but a raging lion on it.
See also: gentle, lamb

on the lam

mainly AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If someone is on the lam, they are trying to escape or hide from someone, for example the police or an enemy. He is currently on the lam, wanted for the sale and trafficking of cocaine. A Rhode Island banker accused of stealing millions has turned himself in after months on the lam. Note: `Lam' is an American slang word meaning running away.
See also: lam, on

like a lamb

If someone is like a lamb or does something like a lamb, they are gentle, quiet, and obedient, often when you expect them to cause trouble. She'd followed him like a lamb.. I gave him his medication, and he took it like a lamb.
See also: lamb, like

like a lamb to the slaughter

If someone goes somewhere like a lamb to the slaughter, they go there quietly and obediently because they have not realized that it will be dangerous or unpleasant, or because they are powerless. His young bride walked down the aisle like a lamb to the slaughter. Note: People sometimes use sheep instead of lamb. I had no idea what the interview would be like and went to it like a sheep to the slaughter.
See also: lamb, like, slaughter

mutton dressed as lamb

or

mutton dressed up as lamb

BRITISH
If you describe a middle-aged or old woman as mutton dressed as lamb or mutton dressed up as lamb, you mean she dresses in a style which is suitable only for a younger woman. I'm always careful to avoid looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Note: Mutton is the meat of an adult sheep, and lamb is the meat of a young sheep, as well as being the name of the animal itself.
See also: dress, lamb, mutton

quiet as a lamb

If someone is quiet as a lamb, they are very quiet, calm, or gentle. She's fine, quiet as a lamb. You really mustn't worry. As soon as the organ music began to play, Ellie went quiet as a lamb.
See also: lamb, quiet

in two shakes

or

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

OLD-FASHIONED, SPOKEN
If you say that you will do something in two shakes or in two shakes of a lamb's tail, you mean that you will do it very soon or very quickly. I'm just going out to the shop — I'll be back in two shakes. Supper will be ready in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
See also: shake, two

I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

or

I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb

If someone says I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb or I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, they mean that as they will suffer or be punished whatever they do, they are choosing to do something really bad. I knew I was going to get into trouble for being late as it was, so I figured I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Note: For a long time in the past in England, the penalty for sheep stealing was death.
See also: hanged, lamb, might, sheep, well

on the lam

in flight, especially from the police. North American informal
See also: lam, on

like a lamb to the slaughter

as a helpless victim.
This expression is found in the Bible in Isaiah 53:7: ‘he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter’, an image later applied to Jesus.
See also: lamb, like, slaughter

mutton dressed as lamb

a middle-aged or old woman dressed in a style suitable for a much younger woman. British informal
Mutton occurs in various derogatory contexts relating to women. It has been used as a slang term for prostitutes from the early 16th century, for example, while the phrase hawk your mutton means ‘flaunt your sexual attractiveness’ or (of a prostitute) ‘solicit for clients’.
1988 Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses Mutton dressed as lamb, fifty plus and batting her eyelashes like an eighteen-year-old.
See also: dress, lamb, mutton

in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

very quickly.
See also: shake, two

on the ˈlam

(American English, informal) escaping from somebody, especially from the police: The man disappeared just before he was due to go to jail and has been on the lam ever since.
See also: lam, on

be mutton dressed (up) as ˈlamb

(British English, informal, disapproving) used to describe a woman who is trying to look younger than she really is, especially by wearing clothes that are designed for young people: Have you seen her? Mutton dressed as lamb. Somebody should remind her that she’s 55, not 25.
Mutton is the meat from an adult sheep, while lamb is the meat from a young sheep.
See also: dress, lamb, mutton

(like) a lamb/lambs to the ˈslaughter

(do something or go somewhere) without protesting, probably because you do not realize that you are in danger: When the war started, thousands of young men went off to fight, like lambs to the slaughter.
Slaughter is the killing of animals for their meat.
See also: lamb, slaughter

in two ˈshakes

,

in a couple of ˈshakes

(also in two ˌshakes of a ˈlamb’s tail old-fashioned) (informal) very soon: I’ve just got to make a phone call. I’ll be with you in two shakes.
See also: shake, two

(you, etc.) may/might as well be hanged/hung for a ˌsheep as (for) a ˈlamb

(saying) if you are going to be punished for doing something wrong, whether it is a big or small thing, you may as well do the big thing: I’m already late but I’ll stay and have another drink. May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.In the past, the punishment for stealing farm animals such as sheep was death by hanging.
See also: hanged, hung, lamb, may, might, sheep, well

on the lam

(...læm)
mod. running from the police. (Underworld.) When the boss found out you was on the lam, he got real mad.
See also: lam, on

two shakes of a lamb’s tail

mod. quickly; rapidly. I’ll be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
See also: of, shake, tail, two
References in classic literature ?
I ask your pardon, learned governor,' said Riderhood, smearing his sleeve across his mouth as he laughed with a relish, 'tain't fair to the lambs, I know.
Wishing to see at my Lock up the river, the person as we've spoke of, and as you've answered for, I takes my leave of the lambs and of their learned governor both.
His face became as white as the fleece of the lamb that, now finding itself suddenly released, ran down the hill.
The truth was that in spite of all he had heard he had not in the least understood what this boy would be like and that his fox and his crow and his squirrels and his lamb were so near to him and his friendliness that they seemed almost to be part of himself.
He walked over to Colin's sofa and put the new-born lamb quietly on his lap, and immediately the little creature turned to the warm velvet dressing-gown and began to nuzzle and nuzzle into its folds and butt its tight-curled head with soft impatience against his side.
There now," and he pushed the rubber tip of the bottle into the nuzzling mouth and the lamb began to suck it with ravenous ecstasy.
By the time the lamb fell asleep questions poured forth and Dickon answered them all.
It was a weak bleatin' an' I knowed it was a new lamb as was hungry an' I knowed it wouldn't be hungry if it hadn't lost its mother somehow, so I set off searchin'.
At the sale eight lambs made 10,000gns or more on a 68% clearance.
Underfeeding causes a metabolic energy crisis that can be fatal for lambs and ewe.
AHIGHER price for finished lambs and lower mortality can see the top third Less Favoured Area (LFA) sheep flocks achieve an extra 6.
The collapse in wholesale prices has been blamed on the financial crisis in the eurozone, the rising costs of feed and wet weather throughout the second half of 2012 which caused a delay in getting lambs fit for market.
As a result she will shed more worm eggs, putting lambs at risk once they start grazing.
The ewes that produce spring lambs will have been fed a dry diet through the winter, whereas autumn lamb-producing ewes have been out on the summer pastures, eating mainly grass and other plants.
A timeless message of faith and acceptance reverberates as God's love, like the Star over Bethlehem, shines on everyone--even little blue lambs.