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90s Slang You Should Know


[el-boh-room, -roo m] /ˈɛl boʊˌrum, -ˌrʊm/
ample room; space in which to move freely.
scope; opportunity:
a job with elbowroom.
Origin of elbowroom
First recorded in 1530-40; elbow + room Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for elbow room
Historical Examples
  • He had to have elbow room no matter where he had to go to get it.

    Blue Ridge Country Jean Thomas
  • I prefer the mountains, where at any rate you have elbow room.

    The Smuggler Chief Gustave Aimard
  • These holes are seldom lined with any thing, but are generally enlarged at the bottom so as to give the family more “elbow room.”

  • Sunshine and thin air are abundant, however, and elbow room.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • There was plenty of elbow room; no more of the overcrowding they had suffered since they landed.

    Our Casualty And Other Stories James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham
  • This gave the masses of ice much more “elbow room,” and decreased the danger of capsizing.

    The Telegraph Messenger Boy Edward S. Ellis
  • I cant offer you the elbow room you have at the clubhouse, but you are none the less welcome.

    The Boy Patrol on Guard Edward S. Ellis
  • Lack o' exercise an' fresh air, an' elbow room hev done fur poor Sol Hyde at last.

    The Free Rangers Joseph A. Altsheler
  • We went early and carried our work, but we soon had to put it away for want of elbow room.

  • To have elbow room he located at Lancaster, Pennsylvania—then on the confines of civilization bordering on the far west.

British Dictionary definitions for elbow room


/ˈɛlbəʊˌruːm; -ˌrʊm/
sufficient scope to move or function
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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Slang definitions & phrases for elbow room

elbow room

noun phrase

Barely enough space for the occupant; a minimum of space: This office is so crowded I couldn't find elbow room for anyone else/ Don't crowd so, give me elbow room

[1700s+; propagated in the US because it was a nickname for General John Burgoyne, who boasted in the 1770s that he would find elbow room in this country]

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 elbow room

elbow room

Enough space to move about, as in Two hundred on the stage? There won't be any elbow room. This term alludes to having enough room to extend one's elbows. [ Late 1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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