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.
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
1590s, from limb (n.1) + -less. Related: Limblessness.
“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-boh] /ˈlɪm boʊ/ noun, plural limbos. 1. (often initial capital letter) Roman Catholic Theology. a region on the border of hell or heaven, serving as the abode after death of unbaptized infants (limbo of infants) and of the righteous who died before the coming of Christ (limbo of the fathers or limbo of the patriarchs) […]
[lim-burg; Dutch lim-bœrkh] /ˈlɪm bɜrg; Dutch ˈlɪm bœrx/ noun 1. a medieval duchy in W Europe: now divided into a province in the SE Netherlands (Limburg) and a province in NE Belgium (Limbourg) /ˈlɪmbɜːɡ; Dutch ˈlɪmbyrx/ noun 1. a medieval duchy of W Europe: divided between the Netherlands and Belgium in 1839 2. a province […]
[lim-bur-ger] /ˈlɪmˌbɜr gər/ noun 1. a variety of soft white cheese of strong odor and flavor. /ˈlɪmbɜːɡə/ noun 1. a semihard white cheese of very strong smell and flavour Also called Limburg cheese n. 1870, short for Limburger cheese (1817), from Limburg, province in northeast Belgium, where the cheese is made. Some frauds a few […]
[lim-buh s] /ˈlɪm bəs/ noun, plural limbi [lim-bahy] /ˈlɪm baɪ/ (Show IPA) 1. 1 . [lim-buh s] /ˈlɪm bəs/ noun, plural limbi [lim-bahy] /ˈlɪm baɪ/ (Show IPA). Anatomy, Zoology. 1. a border, edge, or limb. /ˈlɪmbəs/ noun (pl) -bi (-baɪ) 1. (anatomy) the edge or border of any of various structures or parts n. Latin, […]