The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Lame \Lame\ (l[=a]m), a. [Compar. Lamer (l[=a]m"[~e]r);
superl. Lamest.] [OE. lame, AS. lama; akin to D. lam, G.
lahm, OHG., Dan., & Sw. lam, Icel. lami, Russ. lomate to
break, lomota rheumatism.]
(a) Moving with pain or difficulty on account of injury,
defect, or temporary obstruction of a function; as, a
lame leg, arm, or muscle.
(b) To some degree disabled by reason of the imperfect
action of a limb; crippled; as, a lame man. "Lame of
one leg." --Arbuthnot. "Lame in both his feet." --2
Sam. ix. 13. "He fell, and became lame." --2 Sam. iv.
2. Hence, hobbling; limping; inefficient; imperfect; as, a
lame answer. "A lame endeavor." --Barrow.
O, most lame and impotent conclusion! --Shak.
(a) (Stock Exchange), a person who can not fulfill his
(b) An elected politician who is completing a term after
having been defeated at an election; also, an office
holder who cannot or chooses not to run again for the
same office; -- So called from the presumed lack of
political power of one who is soon to be out of
(b) Any office holder who is serving out a term after a
replacement has been selected.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003):
[originally among Amiga fans]
1. Synonym for luser, not used much by hackers but common among warez
d00dz, crackers, and phreakers. A person who downloads much, but who
never uploads. (Also known as leecher). Oppose elite. Has the same
connotations of self-conscious elitism that use of luser does among
2. Someone who tries to crack a BBS.
3. Someone who annoys the sysop or other BBS users ? for instance, by
posting lots of silly messages, uploading virus-ridden software, frequently
dropping carrier, etc.
Crackers also use it to refer to cracker wannabees. In phreak culture, a
lamer is one who scams codes off others rather than doing cracks or really
understanding the fundamental concepts. In warez d00dz culture, where the
ability to wave around cracked commercial software within days of (or
before) release to the commercial market is much esteemed, the lamer might
try to upload garbage or shareware or something incredibly old (old in this
context is read as a few years to anything older than 3 days). ?Lamer? is
also much used in the IRC world in a similar sense to the above.
This term seems to have originated in the Commodore-64 scene in the mid
1980s. It was popularized among Amiga crackers of the mid-1980s by ?Lamer
Exterminator?, the most famous and feared Amiga virus ever, which gradually
corrupted non-write-protected floppy disks with bad sectors. The bad
sectors, when looked at, were overwritten with repetitions of the string ?
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018):
A hopelessly clueless luser.