Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Lambaste, Lambast

lambaste, lambast [lam-beyst, -bast]
1. criticize (someone or something) harshly; attack verbally
2. assault violently


But when Sedgwick proceeded to lambaste Darwin in public, the mild-mannered Henslow pulled him back. (Christoph Irmscher, 'The Spirit of Inquiry' Review: Inventing the Scientist , WSJ, June 2019)

He got him down and started to lambast the Judas out of him. He gave him the 'leather,' and then some. (Robert W Service, The Trail of '98)

It would be easy to lambast the trial judge for passing a measly two-year jail sentence on illegal immigrant Iqbal Singh, an unlicensed and uninsured driver whose terrible driving killed a man. (Jennifer Stitt, The buck rests with MPs for inadequate sentences, Birmingham Mail, 2012)


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.' (Online Etymological Dictionary)

The origins of lambaste are somewhat uncertain, but the word was most likely formed by combining the verbs lam and baste, both of which mean 'to beat severely.' (Incidentally, lambaste can also be spelled lambast, despite the modern spelling of the verb baste.) Some other synonyms of lambaste include pummel, thrash, and pound. Pummel suggests beating with one's fists ('the bully pummeled the smaller child until teachers intervened'). Pound also suggests heavy blows, though perhaps not quite so much as pummel, and may imply a continuous rain of blows ('she pounded on the door'). Thrash means to strike repeatedly and thoroughly as if with a whip ('the boxer thrashed his opponent').(Merriam-Webster)

Tags: english: elizabethan, l, latin, verb, wordsmith: sallymn

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