- characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe.
- bending readily; flexible; pliant.
- to make oneself limber (usually followed by up): to limber up before the game.
- to make (something) limber (usually followed by up): She tried to limber up her wits before the exam.
Origin of limber1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for limber on Thesaurus.com
- a two-wheeled vehicle, originally pulled by four or six horses, behind which is towed a field gun or caisson.
- to attach the limber to (a gun) in preparation for moving away (sometimes followed by up).
- to attach a limber to a gun (usually followed by up).
Origin of limber2
- (intr) (esp in sports) to exercise in order to be limber and agile
- (tr) to make flexible
- capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
- able to move or bend freely; agile
- 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
- (usually foll by up) to attach the limber (to a gun, etc)
- (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
Word Origin and History for limber up
1748, from limber (adj.). Related: Limbered; limbering.
"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."
"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."