Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

limber1

[lim-ber]
See more synonyms for limber on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe.
  2. bending readily; flexible; pliant.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to make oneself limber (usually followed by up): to limber up before the game.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to make (something) limber (usually followed by up): She tried to limber up her wits before the exam.
Show More

Origin of limber1

First recorded in 1555–65; perhaps akin to limb1
Related formslim·ber·ly, adverblim·ber·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
2. pliable. See flexible.

Antonyms

1, 2. stiff. 2. rigid, unbending.

limber2

[lim-ber]Military
noun
  1. a two-wheeled vehicle, originally pulled by four or six horses, behind which is towed a field gun or caisson.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to attach the limber to (a gun) in preparation for moving away (sometimes followed by up).
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to attach a limber to a gun (usually followed by up).
Show More

Origin of limber2

1400–50; late Middle English lymo(u)r pole of a vehicle. See limb1, -er1

limber3

[lim-ber]
noun
  1. Usually limbers. Nautical. a passage or gutter in which seepage collects to be pumped away, located on each side of a central keelson; bilge.
Show More

Origin of limber3

1620–30; perhaps < French lumière hole, light < Late Latin lūmināria; see luminaria
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

pliablespryagilenimblelitheresilientgracefulsupplelooseelasticplasticdeftlissomepliantspringylithesome

Examples from the Web for limber

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Any woman may fall a victim to a limber, manly, and courteous bow.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

  • He got under way like a man on stilts, and he was about as limber as a pair of fire-tongs.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • You can have plenty of time to limber your wing; the scrub won't object to that.

  • The guns stopped, the men got down from limber and caisson, the horses were unhitched.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Stafford seated himself on the limber, and watched the double storm.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston


British Dictionary definitions for limber

limber1

adjective
  1. capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
  2. able to move or bend freely; agile
Show More
Derived Formslimberly, adverblimberness, noun

Word Origin

C16: origin uncertain

limber2

noun
  1. part of a gun carriage, often containing ammunition, consisting of an axle, pole, and two wheels, that is attached to the rear of an item of equipment, esp field artillery
Show More
verb
  1. (usually foll by up) to attach the limber (to a gun, etc)
Show More

Word Origin

C15 lymour shaft of a gun carriage, origin uncertain

limber3

noun
  1. (often plural) nautical (in the bilge of a vessel) a fore-and-aft channel through a series of holes in the frames (limber holes) where water collects and can be pumped out
Show More

Word Origin

C17: probably changed from French lumière hole (literally: light)
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 limber

adj.

"pliant, flexible," 1560s, of uncertain origin, possibly from limb (n.1) on notion of supple boughs of a tree [Barnhart], or from limp "flaccid" [Skeat], or somehow from Middle English lymer "shaft of a cart" (see limber (n.)), but the late appearance of the -b- in that word argues against it. Related: Limberness. Dryden used limber-ham (see ham (n.1) in the "joint" sense) as a name for a character "perswaded by what is last said to him, and changing next word."

Show More

n.

"detachable forepart of a gun carriage," 1620s, from Middle English lymer (early 15c.), earlier lymon (c.1400), probably from Old French limon "shaft," a word perhaps of Celtic origin, or possibly from Germanic and related to limb (n.1). Hence, limber (v.) "to attach a limber to a gun" (1843). Cf. related Spanish limon "shaft," leman "helmsman."

Show More

v.

1748, from limber (adj.). Related: Limbered; limbering.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper