[ el-boh-room, -room ]
See synonyms for elbowroom on Thesaurus.com
  1. ample room; space in which to move freely.

  2. scope; opportunity: a job with elbowroom.

Origin of elbowroom

First recorded in 1530–40; elbow + room

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

How to use elbowroom in a sentence

  • We must make more—much more—elbow room before the Turks get help from Asia or Constantinople.

  • Montaigne would say:219 I will have elbow-room: I will be courteous and affable according to my fancy, without fear or remorse.

  • Why, hundreds and hundreds of white rabbits could live in that house and never lack for elbow room.

    Bumper, The White Rabbit | George Ethelbert Walsh
  • Farce has called for elbow-room; it takes three acts now, instead of one, to spread itself in.

    The English Stage | Augustin Filon
  • Some persons, as she reflected, are permitted an amount of elbow room altogether disproportionate to their deserts.

British Dictionary definitions for elbowroom


/ (ˈɛlbəʊˌruːm, -ˌrʊm) /

  1. 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with elbowroom


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.