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limber1

[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 up her wits before the exam.
Origin of limber1
1555-1565
1555-65; perhaps akin to limb1
Related forms
limberly, adverb
limberness, noun
Synonyms
2. pliable. See flexible.
Antonyms
1, 2. stiff. 2. rigid, unbending.

limber2

[lim-ber] /ˈlɪm bər/ Military
noun
1.
a two-wheeled vehicle, originally pulled by four or six horses, behind which is towed a field gun or caisson.
verb (used with object)
2.
to attach the limber to (a gun) in preparation for moving away (sometimes followed by up).
verb (used without object)
3.
to attach a limber to a gun (usually followed by up).
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English lymo(u)r pole of a vehicle. See limb1, -er1

limber3

[lim-ber] /ˈlɪm bər/
noun
1.
Usually, limbers. Nautical. a passage or gutter in which seepage collects to be pumped away, located on each side of a central keelson; bilge.
Origin
1620-30; perhaps < French lumière hole, light < Late Latin lūmināria; see luminaria
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for limber
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Light tan gloves, a limber walking stick, a white carnation and a bright red necktie—there you have all that was visible of him.

    From the Housetops George Barr McCutcheon
  • Any woman may fall a victim to a limber, manly, and courteous bow.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • He don't seem tew hav but one limber jinte in him, and that iz lokated in hiz noze.

    Josh Billings on Ice Henry Wheeler Shaw
  • You can have plenty of time to limber your wing; the scrub won't object to that.

  • And then he made each player take a good rubbing down and just enough exercise to limber up his muscles.

    Dave Porter and His Rivals Edward Stratemeyer
British Dictionary definitions for limber

limber1

/ˈlɪmbə/
adjective
1.
capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
2.
able to move or bend freely; agile
Derived Forms
limberly, adverb
limberness, noun
Word Origin
C16: origin uncertain

limber2

/ˈlɪmbə/
noun
1.
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
verb
2.
(usually foll by up) to attach the limber (to a gun, etc)
Word Origin
C15 lymour shaft of a gun carriage, origin uncertain

limber3

/ˈlɪmbə/
noun
1.
(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
Word Origin
C17: probably changed from French lumière hole (literally: light)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for limber
adj.

"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."

n.

"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."

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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