One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An arm or leg of a person or four-legged animal, or a bird's wing.
arm, legView synonyms
- ‘The ability to reduce area and span during the recovery stroke is intimately associated with the design of the propulsive limbs in small animals.’
- ‘He was tall and handsome, broad of shoulder, loose of limb; an athlete of grace and style.’
- ‘How otherwise to explain the small dull ache within him always, the ache that a severed limb leaves?’
- ‘Her body was being covered with leaves and her limbs and neck were hit by a sharp shovel, which was also recovered from the scene.’
- ‘When drawing the figure I am interested in the way it moves - stretches, muscles, limbs - how do they twist, how do you make it look realistic.’
- ‘The black tux glides across his trim, elegant frame, long limbs and broad shoulders.’
- ‘To take one example, the default model for development of the limb of a bird is not the chicken's foot, but that of a duck.’
- ‘Feeling the sudden warmth of the sun on her chilled limbs, Anna became aware that they had emerged into the daylight, and were now slowly ascending a steep section of the course.’
- ‘The light from the sun warmed her limbs even if the draft was breezy and cool.’
- ‘He stretched his long limbs, and pushed his white hair back behind his pointed ears.’
- ‘Among the coelurosaurians, the subgroup of maniraptorans evolved true broad feathers on their limbs.’
- ‘The most common malformations are partial hind limbs, missing hind limbs, and missing toes.’
- ‘Diaphanously winged and provided with limbs far too long and interestingly jointed to be in any way aerodynamic, it would appear to be some kind of mutant grasshopper, a cicada maybe?’
- ‘Correction of the upward trend early in the history can stop the advent of Diabetes, with all the visual and metabolic problems, even including amputation of limbs.’
- ‘Walking may be more familiar and is a whole body exercise compared with cycling where the lower limbs are the primary effector muscles.’
- ‘Apparently, its limbs were primarily adapted for swimming and walking along the bottom of a lake, rather than for crawling on land.’
- ‘He hit the floor with a sickening crunch, wings askew and limbs bent into impossibly painful angles.’
- ‘Once amputees worldwide began to regularly jog, run, and jump, it became apparent that the lack of shock absorption in artificial limbs was a limiting factor.’
- ‘When we have a limb amputated, our neural map of that limb gradually fades away; and if we gain a body part, our neural map expands accordingly.’
- ‘I am in between shifts at my desk, stretching my limbs.’
- 1.1 A large branch of a tree.
branch, boughView synonyms
- ‘The sounds of chain saws growled from streets as residents and workers cleared brush and tree limbs from roads and lawns Monday.’
- ‘Tonight, however, Brach built a large shelter out of tree limbs and mosses - setting the fire several feet away.’
- ‘The road seemed a lot different on the way back, rocks he hadn't seen before made him stumble over and over, tree limbs scratched at his forehead and arms.’
- ‘Of course, larger cleanup tasks should be left to bigger stationary units that can safely handle both larger limbs and leaves.’
- ‘They use a variety of foraging styles; most commonly they glean food from foliage while they climb about on tree limbs.’
- ‘This is the truck with a giant crane arm that comes down the street and picks up the large tree limbs and other debris that people leave out on the sidewalk to be taken away by the city.’
- ‘For some reason, there was a clear channel of space with no tree limbs to block the light to the side of that tombstone.’
- ‘Plopping down under the leafy limbs of the shade-producing tree, she’
- ‘They pay for the holiday lights that hang from downtown tree limbs.’
- ‘Hot and sweaty again, we quickly strip off our shoes, socks and daypacks, leaving them by a great tree whose limbs shade the pond, and jump in.’
- ‘Some of the apple trees had drooping limbs; some grew straight and stiff.’
- ‘Presently I saw a man leaning on a two-strand barbed-wire fence, the wires fixed not to posts but to crooked tree limbs stuck in the ground.’
- ‘I looked up and saw one of the small squirrels running down the length of a limb with a twig of leaves in his mouth.’
- ‘They prefer the security of nearby cover that brush and low-to-the-ground tree limbs like our Norway spruce give them.’
- ‘Fluid images of tree limbs sweeping across the other set of frames recall exhilarating strokes of sumi ink painting.’
- ‘When they reappeared, they were in the moonlit shadow of a tall, aged tree whose limbs were full and bright in the moonlight.’
- ‘Many were left with undesired remnants of the storm: spoiled milk, downed tree limbs and empty gas pumps.’
- ‘discuss what happens to tree branches as winter turns to spring, and how limbs grow out from tree branches.’
- ‘Heavy snow and whipping winds can cause limbs from trees and shrubs to snap.’
- ‘All of a sudden the great sheltering limbs of the trees over Jasperwood look like ceiling beams in a quake-shaken house, ready to crash down.’
- 1.2 A projecting landform such as a spur of a mountain range, or each of two or more such projections as in a forked peninsula or archipelago.
- ‘The eastern limb of the Klip River emanates from the park and flows southward, into other areas of Soweto, until it reaches the Vaal River further in the South.’
- ‘A quarter of a mile further on, at the eastern limb of the bay, the path descended steeply, zig-zagging across the cliff face to a stretch of beach to the east of Holland Point.’
- 1.3 A projecting section of a building.
- 1.4 A branch of a cross.
- 1.5 Each half of an archery bow.
- ‘Slip the loop of the bowstring over the nock and down the limb of the bow and tie the free end of the string to the other nock using a timber hitch, bowline or similar non-stressing knot.’
- ‘Using too few strands can over-stress the bow limbs and possibly break them.’
life and limb
Life and all bodily faculties.‘a reckless disregard for life and limb’
- ‘When ripe, the fruit turns a bright reddish orange and attracts pecking birds and children who risk life and limb to get at the juiciest looking cashew fruit.’
- ‘The concerned local man took a number of photographs of the workers as they risked life and limb on the roof of the building, which is due to open on January 29.’
- ‘It is a frightening thought that but for the willingness of these members to risk life and limb to help others and the efforts of fundraisers, many people would not be here today to thank them.’
- ‘They often work long hours under trying conditions, risking life and limb, and in the process they make positive contributions to society.’
- ‘But this is heroism of a peculiarly modern kind, not the ability to risk life and limb to achieve a particular result but the quiet acceptance of suffering.’
- ‘He had risked life and limb for his country and fellow soldiers, given his all and came home safe and sound - one of the lucky ones, one of the boys.’
- ‘Passengers tempted by the sight of the sometimes near-empty buses risk their life and limb while making a mad rush to board them.’
- ‘Despite flood warnings, the annual River Wharfe swim in Otley went ahead, where six swimmers left the warmth of their hearths to risk life and limb in the swollen river.’
- ‘But their traditional routes are often bisected by roads - forcing the creatures to risk life and limb as they follow their instinct.’
- ‘I am going to risk life and limb here, but I believe I am justified in saying that there are novels which women will enjoy more than men, and vice versa.’
out on a limb
In or into a dangerous or uncompromising position, where one is not joined or supported by anyone else; vulnerable.‘she's prepared to go out on a limb and do something different’
in a precarious position, in a weak position, in a risky situation, vulnerableView synonyms
- ‘But if a manager ever decides to go out on a limb in pursuit of an unsecured position, then you probably won't hear about it until something goes wrong.’
- ‘And he has a gentleman who is willing to go out on a limb for him.’
- ‘I'll go out on a limb and guess there was nearly no such coverage in the US press, despite ample reason for self-criticism on our part.’
- ‘I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't think the perpetrators were embittered citizens or teenage vandals.’
- ‘But it's so lame it's funny, and the music is pretty cool, I will go out on a limb here and say this is a good power pop song.’
- ‘I like hearing the candidates from both parties go out on a limb and proclaim their support for America, apple pie and motherhood.’
- ‘As the movie came to an end, I was wondering if Payne was going to go out on a limb here and leave his central character in a worse position than at the start of the movie.’
- ‘And while my dreams are never easy to analyze, I'm going to go out on a limb here and analyze what that dog represented.’
- ‘In this instance, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that while Meryl makes some good points, she is grasping at straws.’
- ‘We've all been tempted to push the envelope, go out on a limb, do something maybe not quite right just to put ourselves over the top.’
tear someone limb from limb
Violently dismember someone.
- ‘I imagine they're tearing him limb from limb just about now.’
- ‘I think what he is implying is that he has a fearsome reputation and will tear you limb from limb, should the moment arise.’
- ‘We are going to march and you men I expect to tear them limb from limb.’
- ‘They intensify their grip on me, willing me every which way, tearing me limb from limb, like a rag doll in the empty sea of space.’
- ‘The betrayed son ran toward the red-stained patriarch, arms outstretched, meaning to tear him limb from limb.’
- ‘I narrow my eyes in such a way that even if I'm not imagining tearing them limb from limb, if you caught my gaze at that moment you would at least think that's what I was imagining.’
- ‘She wanted to look away, fear that he would tear her limb from limb.’
- ‘Maybe it'll give you a chance to calm down before you tear George limb from limb.’
- ‘The US sent troops to occupy Haiti in 1915 after a mob dragged President Guillaume Sam from his palace and tore him limb from limb.’
- ‘You know I'll tear him limb from limb if he did anything to hurt you.’
Old English lim (also in the sense ‘organ or part of the body’), of Germanic origin.
The edge of the disk of a celestial object, especially the sun or moon.
- ‘The event is a moderate partial eclipse with the Moon's northern limb dipping 15 arc-minutes into Earth's umbral shadow.’
- ‘One was just on the limb of the planet and one was far off but the other two were nowhere in sight.’
- ‘It occurs when the limb of the Moon just touches the apparent edge of the Sun in the sky, but does not overlap it.’
- ‘Second, it predicted that light from a distant star passing near to the limb of sun would be bent by a small but measurable angle.’
- ‘This image obtained by the Clementine satellite in 1994 shows the solar corona shining above the limb of the Moon.’
The blade or broad part of a leaf or petal.
- ‘As plants reached flowering maturity, the gender was noted and flower measurements were taken on petal limb, petal claw and calyx diameter.’
- 2.1 The spreading upper part of a tube-shaped flower.
3The graduated arc of a quadrant or other scientific instrument, used for measuring angles.
Late Middle English: from French limbe or Latin limbus ‘hem, border’.
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