having a specified number or kind of limbs (often used in combination): a long-limbed dancer.

Origin of limbed

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at limb1, -ed3
Related formsun·der·limbed, adjective




a part or member of an animal body distinct from the head and trunk, as a leg, arm, or wing: the lower limbs; artificial limbs.
a large or main branch of a tree.
a projecting part or member: the four limbs of a cross.
a person or thing regarded as a part, member, branch, offshoot, or scion of something: a limb of the central committee.
Archery. the upper or lower part of a bow.
Informal. a mischievous child, imp, or young scamp.

verb (used with object)

to cut the limbs from (a felled tree).

Origin of limb

before 900; Middle English, Old English lim; akin to Old Norse lim foliage, limr limb, līmi rod, Latin līmus aslant, līmen threshold
Related formslimb·less, adjective
Can be confusedlimb limn

Synonyms for limb

Synonym study

2. See branch. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for limbed

Historical Examples of limbed

  • He was gigantic in stature and limbed like the Farnesian Hercules.

    Percival Keene

    Frederick Marryat

  • He writhed and twisted like a limbed snake, and bit and tore with teeth and hands.

    Sea-Dogs All!

    Tom Bevan

  • But why should he have even one, seeing that in reality he is limbed like other people?

    Sleep and Its Derangements

    William A. Hammond

  • May the seventy-seven limbed thunderbolt strike you on St. Michael's day!

  • Hurriedly he threw off his jacket and proceeded to climb the big pine, which, fortunately, was limbed to the ground.

    Corporal Cameron

    Ralph Connor

British Dictionary definitions for limbed



  1. having limbs
  2. (in combination)short-limbed; strong-limbed




an arm or leg, or the analogous part on an animal, such as a wing
any of the main branches of a tree
a branching or projecting section or member; extension
a person or thing considered to be a member, part, or agent of a larger group or thing
mainly British a mischievous child (esp in limb of Satan or limb of the devil)
out on a limb
  1. in a precarious or questionable position
  2. Britishisolated, esp because of unpopular opinions


(tr) a rare word for dismember
Derived Formslimbless, adjective

Word Origin for limb

Old English lim; related to Old Norse limr




the edge of the apparent disc of the sun, a moon, or a planet
a graduated arc attached to instruments, such as the sextant, used for measuring angles
  1. the expanded upper part of a bell-shaped corolla
  2. the expanded part of a leaf, petal, or sepal
either of the two halves of a bow
Also called: fold limb either of the sides of a geological fold

Word Origin for limb

C15: from Latin limbus edge
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 limbed



"part or member," Old English lim "limb, joint, main branch of a tree," from Proto-Germanic *limu- (cf. Old Norse limr "limb," lim "small branch of a tree"), a variant of *liþu- (cf. Old English liþ, Old Frisian lith, Old Norse liðr, Gothic liþus "a limb;" and with prefix ga-, source of German Glied "limb, member"), from PIE root *lei- "to bend, be movable, be nimble." The parasitic -b began to appear late 1500s for no etymological reason (perhaps by influence of limb (n.2)). In Old and Middle English, and until lately in dialects, it could mean "any visible body part."

The lymmes of generacion were shewed manyfestly. [Caxton, "The subtyl historyes and fables of Esope, Auyan, Alfonce, and Poge," 1484]

Hence, limb-lifter "fornicator" (1570s). To go out on a limb in figurative sense "enter a risky situation" is from 1897. Life and limb in reference to the body inclusively is from c.1200.



late 14c., "edge of a quadrant or other instrument," from Latin limbus "border, hem, fringe, edge," of uncertain origin. Klein suggests cognate with Sanskrit lambate "hangs down," and English limp. But Tucker writes that "the sense appears to be that of something which twists, goes round, or binds ... not of something which hangs loose," and suggests cognates in Lithuanian linta "ribbon," Old Norse linnr "whether." Astronomical sense of "edge of the disk of a heavenly body" first attested 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

limbed in Medicine




One of the paired jointed extremities of the body; an arm or a leg.
A segment of such a jointed structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

limbed in Science



One of the appendages of an animal, such as an arm of a starfish, the flipper of dolphins, or the arm and leg of a human, used for locomotion or grasping.
The expanded tip of a plant organ, such as a petal or corolla lobe.
The circumferential edge of the apparent disk of a celestial body.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with limbed


see out on a limb; risk life and limb.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.