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[limp] /lɪmp/
adjective, limper, limpest.
lacking stiffness or firmness, as of substance, fiber, structure, or bodily frame:
a limp body.
lacking vitality; weary; tired; fatigued:
Limp with exhaustion, she dropped into the nearest chair.
without firmness, force, energy, etc., as of character:
limp, spiritless prose.
flexible; not stiff or rigid:
a Bible in a limp leather binding.
Origin of limp2
1700-10; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Icelandic limpa slackness, limpilegur soft, flabby
Related forms
limply, adverb
limpness, noun
1. flabby, flaccid, soft. 2, 3. feeble, weak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for limply
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I took it limply, thus clenching the bargain of infamy between us.

  • limply he resumed his seat, and his thoughts took a fresh turn.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • He threw out his hands once more, palms up, and dropped them limply.

    Hidden Water Dane Coolidge
  • The Moro collapsed to the road, limply, like a wet stocking off a line.

    Terry Charles Goff Thomson
  • "How—— Dandy house," he muttered, limply shaking her limp hand.

    Free Air Sinclair Lewis
  • She had but a vague notion of how that scene had finished; or of how, limply, she had got to bed.

    A Modern Chronicle, Complete Winston Churchill
  • She drew his arm round her waist, and was humiliated to feel that it lay there limply.

    The Quaint Companions Leonard Merrick
  • She leaned over the side as limply as she could, imitating a corpse.

    Beginners Luck Emily Hahn
  • limply he sagged against the newel-post, a sorry picture of grief and pain.


    George Allan England
British Dictionary definitions for limply


verb (intransitive)
to walk with an uneven step, esp with a weak or injured leg
to advance in a labouring or faltering manner
an uneven walk or progress
Derived Forms
limper, noun
limping, adjective, noun
limpingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: probably a back formation from obsolete limphalt lame, from Old English lemphealt; related to Middle High German limpfen to limp


not firm or stiff
not energetic or vital
(of the binding of a book) not stiffened with boards
Derived Forms
limply, adverb
limpness, noun
Word Origin
C18: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Icelandic limpa looseness
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 limply



1560s, of unknown origin, perhaps related to Middle English lympen "to fall short" (c.1400), which is probably from Old English lemphealt "halting, lame, limping," which has a lone cognate in the rare Middle High German limphin, and perhaps is from a PIE root meaning "slack, loose, to hang down" (cf. Sanskrit lambate "hangs down," Middle High German lampen "to hang down"). Related: Limped; limping. As a noun, 1818, from the verb.



1706, "flaccid, drooping," of obscure origin, perhaps related to limp (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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limply in Medicine

limp (lĭmp)
An irregular, jerky, or awkward gait; a claudication. v. limped, limp·ing, limps
To walk lamely, especially with irregularity, as if favoring one leg.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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