Definition of akimbo in US English:



  • 1With hands on the hips and elbows turned outward.

    ‘she stood with arms akimbo, frowning at the small boy’
    • ‘From these imperatives spring the iconographies and situations that animate this suite: the large sitting figure, the figure standing with its arms akimbo, the man lost in a downpour.’
    • ‘Have I ever told you that you are adorable with arms akimbo?’
    • ‘The silvery figure stood in front of him, arms akimbo.’
    • ‘She cleared her final boulder and stood on top of it with arms akimbo trying to catch her breath.’
    • ‘I stood there, arms akimbo, and glowered at him.’
    • ‘She just stands there, arms akimbo, with a cockeyed grin and hair in her eyes.’
    • ‘They are departing now, strutting their pumped up physiques with arms akimbo.’
    • ‘The Indian sentries take positions on either sides of the gates and stand arms akimbo, as if they are ready to indulge in a bout of some eastern martial art.’
    • ‘One client told me that when he asked whether he had been breast-fed, his mother, arms akimbo, warned him off with a glare.’
    • ‘She briefly imagined his pose: arms akimbo, hips jutting outward in impatience, thick black brows lowered ominously over angry eyes, mouth set in disapproval.’
    • ‘Arms akimbo, Jackie looked down at her with contempt.’
    • ‘Tavisome - arms akimbo, head slightly cocked, probing look on her face - looks me over thoroughly.’
    • ‘Circumstance evidently is ganging up on Ganguly, but fortunately the Indian captain hasn't met a fight he doesn't like. He might stand arms akimbo, scowl etched on face, but adversity stirs something in him.’
    • ‘Lee makes her way over to Carl still prone on the dusty floor, grins at him and offers her hand while Xanne plants herself firmly near his face, arms akimbo, and glares menacingly down at him.’
    • ‘She acts by striding about, arms akimbo to suggest self-confidence.’
    • ‘I don't run around doing shots of him with arms akimbo in a cross-like formation.’
    • ‘Right then, Joni stood there with her arms akimbo.’
    • ‘The woman regarded her suspiciously, arms akimbo.’
    • ‘They stand opposite each other, arms akimbo, for a while.’
    • ‘he ordered zealously and she put her arms akimbo.’
    1. 1.1 (of other limbs) flung out widely or haphazardly.
      • ‘They were sprawled nonchalantly, legs akimbo, across the precarious rock pathway that led to my jumping-off point.’
      • ‘Camillus differs from Brutus and Scaevola in his energetic and tense posture, his legs apart, his left arm akimbo, and his right hand grasping the banner high up the pole.’
      • ‘I would have a great time flailing round to this song, limbs akimbo, mouthing all the words.’
      • ‘Dale was in our bedroom, limbs akimbo atop our massive new bed.’
      • ‘I found photo albums and home videos strewn all over the family room floor, picture frames on the walls akimbo and beds unmade.’
      • ‘David turned to look angrily at her but she'd stretched herself across the bed, arms splayed and hair akimbo.’
      • ‘Return the bird, legs akimbo and without the lid, to the oven for 10 minutes.’
      • ‘He lies there, arms and legs akimbo, too stunned to move, to think, to cry.’
      • ‘It's a lovely run, but with an entirely predictable result: on the floor, gangly legs akimbo.’
      • ‘One clenched fist held aloft, as he leaps - legs akimbo - on to one of his colleagues' shoulders, Pele was also a master of the celebration.’
      • ‘They had left him chained in the room, limbs akimbo, naked except for crimson-soaked bandages.’
      • ‘The overall impression is one of deviance and disorder: legs akimbo, shifty eyes, matches and cigarettes scattered nearby.’
      • ‘Bent like vultures, and with limbs akimbo, the dancers perform barefoot or in heavy shoes.’
      • ‘She'd landed on her bottom, legs akimbo, and her long red ringlets of hair had flopped forward, vaulting the crown of her head to hide her eyes.’
      • ‘It showed the twisted remains of a wrecked car, a shattered windshield, and a small body face down, arms and legs wildly akimbo.’
      • ‘My legs are slightly akimbo and my hair is a mess.’
      • ‘Several white-sheeted bodies lay on the ground, limbs akimbo, eyes wildly open, with the look and feel of death permeating the surrounding area.’
      • ‘She rested her head lightly against that arm, her right arm akimbo, those perfect legs crossed at the ankle, one high-intensity knee aimed at his nose.’
      • ‘Axel then stood, legs akimbo, on the hull, gesturing the team down.’
      • ‘Curtis was asleep, limbs akimbo, his usually expressive face was relaxed and serene.’


Late Middle English: from in kenebowe in Middle English, probably from Old Norse.