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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 limpness
Historical Examples
  • Dread overcame him as he felt the limpness of the older man's body.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman

    Albert Walter Tolman
  • This was the curious sag and limpness, and color and style of my clothes.

    A Circuit Rider's Wife

    Corra Harris
  • In the limpness and horror of this, her first crisis, she did nothing, said nothing; only stood there.

    The Readjustment Will Irwin
  • I freely confess to my own inaction and limpness; but it was all deliberate.

    The Lost Continent C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne
  • Possibly his confidence is to be ascribed to the limpness of their attitudes.

  • They had laid him on the bed, but, even in that attitude, the limpness was not that of a living man.

    The Rubicon E. F. Benson
  • European society might let her in, but European society had its limpness.

    Lady Barbarina Henry James
  • Annie was reduced to the limpness of a wet dishrag by what we had overheard.

  • The left arm hung with that limpness which denotes a broken bone.

    A Pagan of the Hills

    Charles Neville Buck
  • But his limpness seemed to impart itself to me, and I—I gave way.

    A Pair of Patient Lovers

    William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for limpness


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 limpness



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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limpness 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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