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limb1

[lim] /lɪm/
noun
1.
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.
2.
a large or main branch of a tree.
3.
a projecting part or member:
the four limbs of a cross.
4.
a person or thing regarded as a part, member, branch, offshoot, or scion of something:
a limb of the central committee.
5.
Archery. the upper or lower part of a bow.
6.
Informal. a mischievous child, imp, or young scamp.
verb (used with object)
7.
to cut the limbs from (a felled tree).
Idioms
8.
out on a limb, in a dangerous or compromising situation; vulnerable:
The company overextended itself financially and was soon out on a limb.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English, Old English lim; akin to Old Norse lim foliage, limr limb, līmi rod, Latin līmus aslant, līmen threshold
Related forms
limbless, adjective
Synonyms
1. extremity. 2. See branch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for out on a limb

limb1

/lɪm/
noun
1.
an arm or leg, or the analogous part on an animal, such as a wing
2.
any of the main branches of a tree
3.
a branching or projecting section or member; extension
4.
a person or thing considered to be a member, part, or agent of a larger group or thing
5.
(mainly Brit) a mischievous child (esp in limb of Satan or limb of the devil)
6.
out on a limb
  1. in a precarious or questionable position
  2. (Brit) isolated, esp because of unpopular opinions
verb
7.
(transitive) a rare word for dismember
Derived Forms
limbless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English lim; related to Old Norse limr

limb2

/lɪm/
noun
1.
the edge of the apparent disc of the sun, a moon, or a planet
2.
a graduated arc attached to instruments, such as the sextant, used for measuring angles
3.
(botany)
  1. the expanded upper part of a bell-shaped corolla
  2. the expanded part of a leaf, petal, or sepal
4.
either of the two halves of a bow
5.
Also called fold limb. either of the sides of a geological fold
Word Origin
C15: from Latin limbus edge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for out on a limb
limb
O.E. lim "limb, joint, main branch of a tree," from P.Gmc. *limu- (cf. O.N. limr "limb," lim "small branch of a tree"), a variant of *liþu- (cf. O.E. liþ, O.Fris. lith, O.N. liðr, Goth. liþus "a limb;" with prefix ga-, source of Ger. glied "limb, member"), from PIE base *lei- "to bend, be movable, be nimble." The parasitic -b began to appear late 1500s for no reason. In O.E., M.E., and until lately in dial., 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 is from 1897. Life and limb in ref. to the body inclusively is from c.1200.
limb
1590s, "edge of a quadrant or other instrument," from L. limbus "border, hem, fringe, edge," cognate with Skt. lambate "hangs down," English limp. Astronomical sense of "edge of the disk of a heavenly body" first attested 1670s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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out on a limb in Medicine

limb (lĭm)
n.

  1. One of the paired jointed extremities of the body; an arm or a leg.

  2. A segment of such a jointed structure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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out on a limb in Science
limb
  (lĭm)   
  1. One of the appendages of an animal, such as an arm of a starfish, the flipper of dolphins, or the arm and leg of a human, used for locomotion or grasping.

  2. The expanded tip of a plant organ, such as a petal or corolla lobe.

  3. The circumferential edge of the apparent disk of a celestial body.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for out on a limb

out on a limb

adverb phrase

In a very vulnerable position; exposed; in peril: The announcement put the Mayor out on a limb (1841+)

Related Terms

go out on a limb


limb

Related Terms

go out on a limb, out on a limb


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with out on a limb
In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position, as in I lodged a complaint about low salaries, but the people who had supported me left me out on a limb. This expression alludes to an animal climbing out on the limb of a tree and then being afraid or unable to retreat. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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