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See more synonyms for limp on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to walk with a labored, jerky movement, as when lame.
  2. to proceed in a lame, faltering, or labored manner: His writing limps from one cliché to another. The old car limped along.
  3. to progress slowly and with great difficulty; make little or no advance: an economy that limps along at a level just above total bankruptcy.
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  1. a lame movement or gait: The accident left him with a slight limp.
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Origin of limp1

1560–70; back formation from obsolete limphault lame; Old English lemphealt limping (see halt2); akin to Middle High German limpfen to limp
Related formslimp·er, nounlimp·ing·ly, adverb


adjective, limp·er, limp·est.
  1. lacking stiffness or firmness, as of substance, fiber, structure, or bodily frame: a limp body.
  2. lacking vitality; weary; tired; fatigued: Limp with exhaustion, she dropped into the nearest chair.
  3. without firmness, force, energy, etc., as of character: limp, spiritless prose.
  4. flexible; not stiff or rigid: a Bible in a limp leather binding.
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Origin of limp2

1700–10; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Icelandic limpa slackness, limpilegur soft, flabby
Related formslimp·ly, adverblimp·ness, noun


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. flabby, flaccid, soft. 2, 3. feeble, weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for limp

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mrs. Bines, stooping, took the limp and wide-eyed Paul up in her arms.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I descended from the bridge with both body and soul like limp rags.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • But the Mercutian was already in his seat, Joan limp beside him.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • He had begun to limp, and this limp increased with the hours.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • His jaws were apart, and through them the tongue protruded, draggled and limp.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for limp


verb (intr)
  1. to walk with an uneven step, esp with a weak or injured leg
  2. to advance in a labouring or faltering manner
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  1. an uneven walk or progress
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Derived Formslimper, nounlimping, adjective, nounlimpingly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: probably a back formation from obsolete limphalt lame, from Old English lemphealt; related to Middle High German limpfen to limp


  1. not firm or stiff
  2. not energetic or vital
  3. (of the binding of a book) not stiffened with boards
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Derived Formslimply, adverblimpness, noun

Word Origin

C18: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Icelandic limpa looseness
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 limp


1560s, of unknown origin, perhaps related to Middle English lympen "to fall short" (c.1400), which is probably from Old English lemphealt "halting, lame, limping," which has a lone cognate in the rare Middle High German limphin, and perhaps is from a PIE root meaning "slack, loose, to hang down" (cf. Sanskrit lambate "hangs down," Middle High German lampen "to hang down"). Related: Limped; limping. As a noun, 1818, from the verb.

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1706, "flaccid, drooping," of obscure origin, perhaps related to limp (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

limp in Medicine


  1. An irregular, jerky, or awkward gait; a claudication.
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  1. To walk lamely, especially with irregularity, as if favoring one leg.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.