characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe.
bending readily; flexible; pliant.

verb (used without object)

to make oneself limber (usually followed by up): to limber up before the game.

verb (used with object)

to make (something) limber (usually followed by up): She tried to limber up her wits before the exam.

Origin of limber

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

Synonyms for limber

2. pliable. See flexible.

Antonyms for limber

1, 2. stiff. 2. rigid, unbending. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for limberness

Historical Examples of limberness

  • And the limberness has gone out of my fingers as out of my mind.


    Gertrude Atherton

  • Grandma Padgett took it in her hands, reduced its length and tried its limberness.

    Old Caravan Days

    Mary Hartwell Catherwood

  • But age had not impaired the brightness of her eyes, nor the limberness of her tongue, nor her shrewd good sense.

    On Horseback

    Charles Dudley Warner

  • Then he recovered and tried to fight, but could do nothing, being a weak cripple, and was literally beaten into limberness.

    The Wolf's Long Howl

    Stanley Waterloo

  • Students of the human frame say that they never saw such a wealth of looseness and limberness lavished upon one person.


    Bill Nye

British Dictionary definitions for limberness




capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
able to move or bend freely; agile
Derived Formslimberly, adverblimberness, noun

Word Origin for limber

C16: origin uncertain




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)

Word Origin for limber

C15 lymour shaft of a gun carriage, origin uncertain




(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 for limber

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 limberness



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper