a part or member of an animal body distinct from the head and trunk, as a leg, arm, or wing:
the lower limbs; artificial limbs.
a large or main branch of a tree.
a projecting part or member:
the four limbs of a cross.
a person or thing regarded as a part, member, branch, offshoot, or scion of something:
a limb of the central committee.
Archery. the upper or lower part of a bow.
Informal. a mischievous child, imp, or young scamp.
verb (used with object)
to cut the limbs from (a felled tree).
out on a limb, in a dangerous or compromising situation; vulnerable:
The company overextended itself financially and was soon out on a limb.
Astronomy. the edge of the disk of the sun, a moon, or a planet.
the graduated edge of a quadrant or similar instrument.
an arm or leg, or the analogous part on an animal, such as a wing
any of the main branches of a tree
a branching or projecting section or member; extension
a person or thing considered to be a member, part, or agent of a larger group or thing
(mainly Brit) a mischievous child (esp in limb of Satan or limb of the devil)
out on a limb
(transitive) a rare word for dismember
the edge of the apparent disc of the sun, a moon, or a planet
a graduated arc attached to instruments, such as the sextant, used for measuring angles
either of the two halves of a bow
Also called fold limb. either of the sides of a geological fold
“part or member,” Old English lim “limb, joint, main branch of a tree,” from Proto-Germanic *limu- (cf. Old Norse limr “limb,” lim “small branch of a tree”), a variant of *liþu- (cf. Old English liþ, Old Frisian lith, Old Norse liðr, Gothic liþus “a limb;” and with prefix ga-, source of German Glied “limb, member”), from PIE root *lei- “to bend, be movable, be nimble.” The parasitic -b began to appear late 1500s for no etymological reason (perhaps by influence of limb (n.2)). In Old and Middle English, and until lately in dialects, it could mean “any visible body part.”
The lymmes of generacion were shewed manyfestly. [Caxton, “The subtyl historyes and fables of Esope, Auyan, Alfonce, and Poge,” 1484]
Hence, limb-lifter “fornicator” (1570s). To go out on a limb in figurative sense “enter a risky situation” is from 1897. Life and limb in reference to the body inclusively is from c.1200.
late 14c., “edge of a quadrant or other instrument,” from Latin limbus “border, hem, fringe, edge,” of uncertain origin. Klein suggests cognate with Sanskrit lambate “hangs down,” and English limp. But Tucker writes that “the sense appears to be that of something which twists, goes round, or binds … not of something which hangs loose,” and suggests cognates in Lithuanian linta “ribbon,” Old Norse linnr “whether.” Astronomical sense of “edge of the disk of a heavenly body” first attested 1670s.
go out on a limb, out on a limb
[lim-buh] /ˈlɪm bə/ noun 1. an African tree, Terminalia superba, having yellowish-brown wood. 2. the wood of this tree.
- Limb bud
limb bud n. A mesenchymal outgrowth covered with ectoderm on the flank of an embryo that gives rise to either the forelimb or the hindlimb.
[lim-ber] /ˈlɪm bər/ adjective 1. characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe. 2. bending readily; flexible; pliant. verb (used without object) 3. to make oneself limber (usually followed by up): to limber up before the game. verb (used with object) 4. to make (something) limber (usually followed by up): She tried to limber […]
[lim-ber-nek] /ˈlɪm bərˌnɛk/ noun, Veterinary Pathology. 1. a fatal infection of botulism affecting birds, especially chickens and ducks, characterized by weakness of the muscles and inability to eat.