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1. In a spiritual state between heaven and hell after death. He was terrified that he would be trapped in limbo if a priest didn't hear his final confession before he died.
2. In a precarious, indefinite, or suspended state or condition in which the outcome is uncertain. The officer looking after my case quit recently, so my application has been stuck in limbo. We're kind of in limbo out here until the French authorities reopen the airports.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. Lit. a region of the afterlife on the border of hell. (In some Christian religions, there is a limbo set aside for souls that do not go to either heaven or hell. This sense is used only in this religious context. *Typically: be ~; remain ~; stay ~.) The baby's soul was in limbo because she had not been baptized.
2. Fig. in a state of neglect; in a state of oblivion; in an indefinite state; on hold. (*Typically: be ~; leave something ~; put something ~.) We'll have to leave the project in limbo for a month or two. After I got hit on the head, I was in limbo for about ten minutes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. In a condition of oblivion or neglect, as in They kept her application in limbo for months. [Early 1600s]
2. An intermediate or transitional state, as in After his editor left the firm, his book was in limbo. [Early 1600s] Both usages allude to the theological meaning of limbo, that is, a place outside hell and heaven to which unbaptized infants and the righteous who died before Christ's coming were traditionally consigned.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
in ˈlimboin a state of uncertainty or between two states: We’re in limbo at the moment because we’ve finished our work in this country and now we’re waiting for our next contract. ♢ Our plans for renting an apartment in Spain are in limbo at the moment.In some Christian beliefs, limbo is a state that is neither heaven nor hell, where some souls live.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017