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limber1

[lim-ber]
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adjective
  1. characterized by ease in bending the body; supple; lithe.
  2. bending readily; flexible; pliant.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make oneself limber (usually followed by up): to limber up before the game.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make (something) limber (usually followed by up): She tried to limber up her wits before the exam.
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Origin of limber1

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

Synonyms

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2. pliable. See flexible.

Antonyms

1, 2. stiff. 2. rigid, unbending.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for limberness

Historical Examples

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

    Ancestors

    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.

    Remarks

    Bill Nye


British Dictionary definitions for limberness

limber1

adjective
  1. capable of being easily bent or flexed; pliant
  2. able to move or bend freely; agile
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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
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verb
  1. (usually foll by up) to attach the limber (to a gun, etc)
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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
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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 limberness

limber

v.

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

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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."

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limber

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper