verb (used with object)

to push with or as if with the elbow; jostle.
to make (one's way) by so pushing.

verb (used without object)

to elbow one's way: He elbowed through the crowd.

Nearby words

  1. elbert,
  2. elbert, mount,
  3. elberta,
  4. elbing,
  5. elbląg,
  6. elbow bone,
  7. elbow catch,
  8. elbow grease,
  9. elbow joint,
  10. elbow room


Origin of elbow

before 1000; Middle English elbowe, Old English el(n)boga; cognate with Middle Dutch elle(n)bōghe, Old High German el(l)inbogo (German Ellenbogen), Old Norse ǫl(n)bogi; literally, “forearm-bend.” See ell2, bow1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elbow

British Dictionary definitions for elbow



the joint between the upper arm and the forearm, formed by the junction of the radius and ulna with the humerus
the corresponding joint or bone of birds or mammals
the part of a garment that covers the elbow
something resembling an elbow, such as a sharp bend in a road or river
at one's elbow within easy reach
out at elbow or out at elbows ragged or impoverished
up to the elbows with or up to the elbows in busily occupied with; deeply immersed in


(tr) to reject; dismiss. Also: give the elbow
to make (one's way) by shoving, jostling, etc
(tr) to knock or shove with or as if with the elbow

Word Origin for elbow

Old English elnboga; see ell ², bow ²; related to Old Norse olbogi, Old High German elinbogo

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

Word Origin and History for elbow
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for elbow




The joint or bend of the arm between the forearm and the upper arm.cubitus
The bony outer projection of this joint.
Something having a bend or an angle similar to an elbow.

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

Idioms and Phrases with elbow


In addition to the idioms beginning with elbow

  • elbow grease
  • elbow room

also see:

  • at someone's elbow
  • crook one's elbow
  • out at the elbows
  • rub elbows with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.