• synonyms


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


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

Related Words

supple, listless, soft, flabby, hitch, shuffle, waddle, falter, stagger, hop, hobble, stumble, bending, plastic, wearied, debilitated, weakened, tired, exhausted, relaxed

Examples from the Web for limper

Historical Examples

  • Even the limper, in spite of all my search, had got off and was not to be found.

    The Old Man of the Mountain, The Lovecharm and Pietro of Abano

    Ludwig Tieck

  • Limper, the ostler, got "Grey Bobby" from the stable, and put him into the harness.

  • He had come in loungingly, and he went out loungingly; but he was limper after the interview than before it.

    Mrs. Thompson

    William Babington Maxwell

  • The event is described in the metrical history of Rouen, composed by a minstrel ycleped Poirier, the limper.

  • The victim gradually became paler and limper, until Maskull held a corpse in his arms.

British Dictionary definitions for limper


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 limper



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

limper 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.