limb


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Related to limb: phantom limb

*out on a limb

 
1. Lit. out on a limb of a tree where it is dangerous. (*Typically: be ~; go ~.) It's okay to climb the tree, but don't go out on a limb and fall off.
2. Fig. in a dangerous position to do something; at risk. (*Typically: be ~; go ~; put someone ~.) I don't want to go out on a limb, but I think we can afford to do it. If I had to go out on a limb, I would say that it will be a month before your merchandise will be delivered.
See also: limb, on, out

tear (someone or some animal) limb from limb

to rip someone or an animal to bits. The explosion tore the workers limb from limb. The crocodiles attacked the wading zebras and tore them limb from limb.
See also: limb, tear

life and limb

continued existence or serious injury These skiers risk life and limb every day for the thrill of a super-fast downhill run. The storms across the west are posing a threat to life and limb.
Usage notes: used when talking about situations in which someone could die or be injured, as in the examples
See also: and, life, limb

out on a limb

in a situation where you lack support He was pretty far out on a limb when he predicted the future of the industry two years ago.
Usage notes: often used with go: I'll go out on a limb and pick the Panthers to win on Sunday.
See also: limb, on, out

tear somebody limb from limb

to attack someone violently I'm sure she'd tear the guy limb from limb for what he's done.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of tear someone limb from limb (to pull someone's arms and legs off)
See also: limb, tear

be out on a limb

alone and lacking support from other people Because we're geographically so far removed from the main office, we do sometimes feel as if we're out on a limb.
See also: limb, on, out

go out on a limb

if you go out on a limb, you state an opinion or you do something which is very different to most other people I don't think we're going out on a limb in claiming that global warming is a problem that must be addressed. Rob Thompson, the producer, admits the series is going out on a limb in that it is quite different to anything else currently on television.
See tear limb from limb
See also: limb, on, out

risk life and limb

to do something very dangerous where you might get hurt These skiers risk life and limb every day for the thrill of speed.
See also: and, life, limb, risk

tear somebody limb from limb

to attack someone violently I'm sure if she got hold of the guy she'd tear him limb from limb.
See also: limb, tear

out on a limb

In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position, as in I lodged a complaint about low salaries, but the people who had supported me left me out on a limb . This expression alludes to an animal climbing out on the limb of a tree and then being afraid or unable to retreat. [Late 1800s]
See also: limb, on, out

risk life and limb

Also, risk one's neck. Take dangerous chances, as in There he was on the roof, risking life and limb to rescue the kitten, or I don't want to risk my neck contradicting him. The first hyperbolic expression, dating from the early 1600s, doesn't make sense, since if one loses one's life one also loses the use of one's limbs. The variant, used for risky undertakings of all kinds, physical and nonphysical, presumably alludes to being hanged or beheaded. Also see stick one's neck out.
See also: and, life, limb, risk

(out) on a limb

Informal
In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position.
See also: limb, on
References in classic literature ?
if you will venture out on the limb as far as you think safe, and not let go the beetle, I'll make you a present of a silver dollar as soon as you get down.
was the skull nailed to the limb with the face outwards, or with the face to the limb?
A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north main branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death's-head a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.
Acting upon this hint, I made the division thus: 'A good glass in the Bishop's hostel in the Devil's seat - forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes - northeast and by north - main branch seventh limb east side - shoot from the left eye of the death's-head - a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.
Upon this discovery I was so sanguine as to consider the enigma solved; for the phrase 'main branch, seventh limb, east side,' could refer only to the position of the skull upon the tree, while 'shoot from the left eye of the death's head' admitted, also, of but one interpretation, in regard to a search for buried treasure.
In youth, the tulip-tree, or Liriodendron Tulipferum, the most magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, and often rises to a great height without lateral branches; but, in its riper age, the bark becomes gnarled and uneven, while many short limbs make their appearance on the stem.
Look down the trunk and count the limbs below you on this side.
His supreme contempt for his own limbs, as he sat smoking, was one of the pleasantest oddities I have ever encountered.
if the Knight's feats in arms have shown that he hath limbs and sinews, his choice hath no less proved that his eyes are none of the clearest.
His head felt as if it would split, anguish rent his limbs, and he was afraid he was going to cry.
He began to regret that he had not constructed the wooden limbs more carefully and substantially.
As for the legs, they were four straight limbs cut from trees and stuck fast into the body, being spread wide apart so that the saw-horse would stand firmly when a log was laid across it to be sawed.
The act released his physical energies without unfettering his will; his mind was still spellbound, but his powerful body and agile limbs, endowed with a blind, insensate life of their own, resisted stoutly and well.
May the heathen ruler of the winds confine in iron chains the boisterous limbs of noisy Boreas, and the sharp-pointed nose of bitter-biting Eurus.
Her shape was not only exact, but extremely delicate: and the nice proportion of her arms promised the truest symmetry in her limbs.