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[lim-ber] /ˈlɪm bər/

characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe.
bending readily; flexible; pliant.
verb (used without object)
to make oneself limber (usually followed by up):
to limber up before the game.
verb (used with object)
to make (something) limber (usually followed by up):
She tried to limber up her wits before the exam.
capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
able to move or bend freely; agile
part of a gun carriage, often containing ammunition, consisting of an axle, pole, and two wheels, that is attached to the rear of an item of equipment, esp field artillery
(usually foll by up) to attach the limber (to a gun, etc)
(often pl) (nautical) (in the bilge of a vessel) a fore-and-aft channel through a series of holes in the frames (limber holes) where water collects and can be pumped out

“pliant, flexible,” 1560s, of uncertain origin, possibly from limb (n.1) on notion of supple boughs of a tree [Barnhart], or from limp “flaccid” [Skeat], or somehow from Middle English lymer “shaft of a cart” (see limber (n.)), but the late appearance of the -b- in that word argues against it. Related: Limberness. Dryden used limber-ham (see ham (n.1) in the “joint” sense) as a name for a character “perswaded by what is last said to him, and changing next word.”

“detachable forepart of a gun carriage,” 1620s, from Middle English lymer (early 15c.), earlier lymon (c.1400), probably from Old French limon “shaft,” a word perhaps of Celtic origin, or possibly from Germanic and related to limb (n.1). Hence, limber (v.) “to attach a limber to a gun” (1843). Cf. related Spanish limon “shaft,” leman “helmsman.”

1748, from limber (adj.). Related: Limbered; limbering.


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