limb

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be out on a limb

To have done or said something that lacks evidence or support. Her hypothesis is really out on a limb—the facts don't support it at all. That politician is out on a limb after publicly questioning the views of his party.
See also: limb, on, out

life and limb

One's bodily well-being, up to and including one's life. Usually used when describing something that might cause severe injury or death, especially in the phrase "risk life and limb." Today we pay our respects to the brave men and women who risk life and limb every day to keep our country safe. I'm sure it's thrilling, but I'd rather not chance life and limb just for a bit of an adrenaline rush.
See also: and, life, limb

risk life and limb

To do something that might cause severe injury or death. Today we pay our respects to the brave men and women who risk life and limb every day to keep our country safe. I'm sure it's thrilling, but I'd rather not risk life and limb just for a bit of an adrenaline rush.
See also: and, life, limb, risk

tear (one) limb from limb

To violently maim a person or animal. If I find out that you're the one who hurt my daughter, I will tear you limb from limb, understand?
See also: limb, tear

*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

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

risk life and limb

If you risk life and limb, you do something very dangerous that may cause you to die or be seriously injured. He is not prepared to risk life and limb on this dangerous track to win the title. She gets a thrill risking life and limb by leaping off cliffs and mountains.
See also: and, life, limb, risk

go out on a limb

COMMON If you go out on a limb, you do something or say something that is different from what most people do or say and is therefore risky. He does not want to go out on a limb and try something completely new. There's nothing wrong with politicians going out on a limb sometimes and risking their reputation.
See also: limb, on, out

out on a limb

or

on a limb

If you are out on a limb or are on a limb, you are alone and without any help or support. No company wants to be the first to put its rates up. The companies who have tried have found themselves out on a limb. She felt on a limb at the ministry. Note: In this expression, a limb is a branch of a tree. The image here is of someone who climbs out along a limb, away from the main trunk.
See also: limb, on, out

tear someone limb from limb

If someone threatens to tear you limb from limb, they say they will kill you in a very violent way. It was lucky for him the police found him before I did because I would have torn him limb from limb.
See also: limb, tear

(out) on a limb

Informal
In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position.
See also: limb, on
References in classic literature ?
In the mean time I cautiously transferred myself from the limb down which I had been slipping to a couple of others that were near it, deeming two strings to my bow better than one, and taking care to test their strength before I trusted my weight to them.
Toby's animating 'come on' again sounded in my ears, and dreading to lose all confidence in myself if I remained meditating upon the step, I once more gazed down to assure myself of the relative bearing of the tree and my own position, and then closing my eyes and uttering one comprehensive ejaculation of prayer, I inclined myself over towards the abyss, and after one breathless instant fell with a crash into the tree, the branches snapping and cracking with my weight, as I sunk lower and lower among them, until I was stopped by coming in contact with a sturdy limb.
Now, Jup," cried Legrand, evidently much excited, "I want you to work your way out upon that limb as far as you can.
Mos feerd for to ventur pon dis limb berry far - tis dead limb putty much all de way.
Together we wormed our way along the waving pathway, but when we reached the end of the branch we found that our combined weight so depressed the limb that the cave's mouth was now too far above us to be reached.
We finally agreed that Tars Tarkas should return along the branch, leaving his longest leather harness strap with me, and that when the limb had risen to a height that would permit me to enter the cave I was to do so, and on Tars Tarkas' return I could then lower the strap and haul him up to the safety of the ledge.
If we suppose that the ancient progenitor, the archetype as it may be called, of all mammals, had its limbs constructed on the existing general pattern, for whatever purpose they served, we can at once perceive the plain signification of the homologous construction of the limbs throughout the whole class.
The anterior and posterior limbs in each member of the vertebrate and articulate classes are plainly homologous.
Tarzan seized and broke a small tree limb, and at the sudden cracking sound the ponderous figure halted.
I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed; when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch --the miserable monster whom I had created.
You got to find out where the shadow of the limb falls at midnight, and that's where you dig
Even before the rending sound which followed Meriem knew that she had misjudged the strength of the limb.
Our dear companion Will Stutely hath been taken by that vile Sheriff's men, therefore doth it behoove us to take bow and brand in hand to bring him off again; for I wot that we ought to risk life and limb for him, as he hath risked life and limb for us.
But my mother swung over the top of a thick limb, a dozen feet from the ground, and, still holding on to her, we perched there in safety.
ONE day an Opossum who had gone to sleep hanging from the highest branch of a tree by the tail, awoke and saw a large Snake wound about the limb, between him and the trunk of the tree.