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English Wikipedia has an article on:
an elbow


From Middle English elbowe, from Old English elboga, elnboga (elbow), from Proto-Germanic *alinabugô (elbow), equivalent to ell +‎ bow. Cognate with Scots elbuck (elbow), Saterland Frisian Älbooge (elbow), Dutch elleboog (elbow), Low German Ellebage (elbow), German Ellbogen, Ellenbogen (elbow), Danish albue (elbow), Icelandic olbogi, olnbogi (elbow).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɛl.bəʊ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɛɫ.boʊ/, /ˈɛl.boʊ/
  • (file)


elbow (plural elbows)

  1. (anatomy) The joint between the upper arm and the forearm.
    • 1627, Michael Drayton, “The Moone-Calfe”, in English Poetry 1579-1830: Spenser and the Tradition[1]:
      Up to the elbowes naked were there Armes.
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set[2]:
      Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ "I never understood it," she observed, lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."
  2. (by extension) Any turn or bend like that of the elbow, in a wall, building, coastline, etc.; an angular or jointed part of any structure, such as the raised arm of a chair or sofa, or a short pipe fitting, turning at an angle or bent.
    the sides of windows, where the jamb makes an elbow with the window back
  3. (US, dated, early 20th-century slang) A detective.
    • 1924, Dashiell Hammett, Zigzags of Treachery:
      "An elbow, huh?" putting all the contempt he could in his voice; and somehow any synonym for detective seems able to hold a lot of contempt.
  4. (basketball) Part of a basketball court located at the intersection of the free-throw line and the free-throw lane.[1]
  5. A hit with the elbow
    • 2018 June 18, Phil McNulty, “Tunisia 1 - 2 England”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      England ran Tunisia ragged in that spell but were punished for missing a host of chances when Ferjani Sassi equalised from the penalty spot against the run of play after Kyle Walker was penalised for an elbow on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from elbow (noun)



elbow (third-person singular simple present elbows, present participle elbowing, simple past and past participle elbowed)

  1. (transitive) To push with the elbow.
    He elbowed his way through the crowd.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To nudge, jostle or push.
    • 1993, Dana Stabenow, A Fatal Thaw, →ISBN, page 105:
      Suddenly and with all her heart Kate longed to be home, back at the homestead, to participate in the rambunctious toss and jostle as breakup elbowed its way into the Park.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newell, Pete; Nater, Swen (2008). Pete Newell's Playing Big. Human Kinetics. p.26: ISBN 9780736068093. Retrieved April 11, 2013.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of elbowe