- (often initial capital letter) Roman Catholic Theology. a region on the border of hell or heaven, serving as the abode after death of unbaptized infants (limbo of infants) and of the righteous who died before the coming of Christ (limbo of the fathers or limbo of the patriarchs).
- a place or state of oblivion to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date: My youthful hopes are in the limbo of lost dreams.
- an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.
- a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.
Origin of limbo1
- a dance from the West Indies, originally for men only, in which the dancer bends backward from the knees and moves with a shuffling step under a horizontal bar that is lowered after each successive pass.
Origin of limbo2
Examples from the Web for limbo
Keeping him in limbo seems to be the preferred punishment for him in the eyes of the Iranian authorities.Jafar Panahi: Filmmaking Ban Is My Iranian Prison
July 8, 2014
“This is a very difficult period right now—being in limbo,” he admits.How ‘Transcendence’ Director Wally Pfister Became Christopher Nolan’s Secret Weapon
April 17, 2014
Would that film, also starring an early 2000s Best Actress Oscar winner, have been in limbo this long?What the Hell Happened to Halle Berry’s ‘Frankie & Alice’?
April 1, 2014
For now, an impasse holds Ukraine in a limbo punctuated by violent outbursts.Up to Speed: What’s Going on in Ukraine?
February 19, 2014
Even though her life remains in limbo she counts herself as fortunate.Inside the Brutal Clean-up Efforts in Lac-Megantic
July 16, 2013
The button of soot has vanished into the limbo of superseded inventions.Heroes of the Telegraph
Duncan's hand airily wafted the remark into the limbo of the negligible.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
But we forget that our hero, like Tristram Shandy, is still in the limbo of non-existence.Benjamin Franklin
Paul Elmer More
As to leave, it has again vanished into the limbo of futurity.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
Alas, that is not possible, for it must remain forever in the limbo of tradition.Adventures in the Arts
- (often capital) RC Church the supposed abode of infants dying without baptism and the just who died before Christ
- an imaginary place for lost, forgotten, or unwanted persons or things
- an unknown intermediate place or condition between two extremesin limbo
- a prison or confinement
- a Caribbean dance in which dancers pass, while leaning backwards, under a bar
Word Origin and History for limbo
"region supposed to exist on the border of Hell" reserved for pre-Christian saints (Limbus patrum) and unbaptized infants (Limbus infantum);" c.1300, from Latin limbo, ablative of limbus "edge, border" (see limb (2)). It emerged from Latin in the ablative form from frequent use in phrases such as in limbo (patrum), etc. Figurative sense of "condition of neglect or oblivion" is from 1640s.
dance in which the dancer bends backward and passes under a bar, 1956, of W.Indian origin, probably an alteration of limber.
Idioms and Phrases with limbo
see in limbo.