[ uh-kim-boh ]
See synonyms for akimbo on Thesaurus.com
adjective, adverb
  1. with hand on hip and elbow bent outward: to stand with arms akimbo.

  2. (of limbs) splayed out in an awkward or ungainly manner: After the strenuous hike, she sat on the floor with her legs akimbo.

  1. (of limbs) fully extended in opposite directions: The dancer warmed up with his arms and legs stretched akimbo.

  2. to one side; askew; awry: They wore their hats akimbo.He woke up from his nap, hair akimbo.

Origin of akimbo

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English in kenebowe, from unattested Old Norse i keng boginn “bent into a crook” (i “in,” keng, accusative of kengr “hook,” boginn, past participle of bjūga “to bend”)

Words Nearby akimbo

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use akimbo in a sentence

  • It’s a title with all the swagger of a 200-page contract heavy with riders, an appellation that stands, arms akimbo, in defiance of Pee-wee Herman’s dictum “That’s my name, don’t wear it out.”

  • He stood with one arm akimbo, the other resting on the table, and grinned like a vulgar Mephistopheles.

    A Butterfly on the Wheel | Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • She was standing in the doorway, her arms akimbo and her sleeves rolled up.

    Four Days | Hetty Hemenway
  • He set his arms akimbo and smiled toothlessly upon the visitor.

    The Opened Shutters | Clara Louise Burnham
  • His arms were akimbo, his feet planted as firmly as if he were a particularly stubborn brand of tree.

    Pagan Passions | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • I had gone there because I had seen smoke coming out of the little crooked pipe that stood akimbo.

    Tramping on Life | Harry Kemp

British Dictionary definitions for akimbo


/ (əˈkɪmbəʊ) /

adjective, adverb
  1. arms akimbo or with arms akimbo with hands on hips and elbows projecting outwards

Origin of akimbo

C15 in kenebowe, literally: in keen bow, that is, in a sharp curve

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