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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English lim and Old English lim. The silent -b began to appear in the late 1500s.


limb (plural limbs)

  1. A major appendage of human or animal, used for locomotion (such as an arm, leg or wing)
  2. A branch of a tree.
  3. (archery) The part of the bow, from the handle to the tip.
  4. (botany) The border or upper spreading part of a monopetalous corolla, or of a petal or sepal; blade.
  5. (astronomy) The border or edge of the disk of a heavenly body, especially of the sun or moon.
  6. The graduated margin of an arc or circle in an instrument for measuring angles.
  7. An elementary piece of the mechanism of a lock.
  8. A thing or person regarded as a part or member of, or attachment to, something else.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      That little limb of the devil has cheated the gallows.
Derived terms[edit]
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limb (third-person singular simple present limbs, present participle limbing, simple past and past participle limbed)

  1. To remove the limbs from an animal or tree.
    They limbed the felled trees before cutting them into logs.
  2. To supply with limbs.
    • Henry D. Thoreau, Walden:
      Man was not made so large limbed and robust but that he must seek to narrow his world and wall in a space such as fitted him.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin limbus, "border".


limb (plural limbs)

  1. (astronomy) The apparent visual edge of a celestial body.
    solar limb
  2. (on a measuring instrument) The graduated edge of a circle or arc.

See also[edit]