limb

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(out) on a limb

In a position that lacks evidence, certainty, or support. The image is that of being situated on a branch of a tree, away from the support of the trunk. 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. I went on a limb getting my contacts at the company to give you a chance, so don't blow it.
See also: limb, on

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

go out on a limb

To do or say something that lacks evidence or support. She really went out on a limb with that hypothesis—the facts don't support it at all. That politician went out on a limb and publicly questioned the views of his party. I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying that everyone will like that idea.
See also: go, limb, on, out

life and limb

One's bodily wellbeing, 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. Typically used as a threat, rather than a description of an actual action. 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.

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: go, 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, someone, tear
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

life and limb

life and all bodily faculties.
1993 Vanity Fair Castro is particularly irked by the bad press Cuba gets concerning…the rafters who risk life and limb to get to Florida.
See also: and, life, limb

out on a limb

1 isolated or stranded. 2 without support.
A limb here is the projecting branch of a tree. A related expression is go out on a limb , meaning ‘take a risk’ or ‘act boldly and uncompromisingly’.
1991 Times Education Supplement I don't always want to go out on a limb, or sound confrontational by flatly saying that the child has done this or that.
See also: limb, on, out

tear someone limb from limb

violently dismember someone.
See also: limb, someone, tear
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

out on a ˈlimb

(informal) in a risky or difficult position because you are saying or doing something which does not have the support of other people: When he started that company, he really went out on a limb. It might have been a disaster.I seem to be out on a limb here. Does nobody agree with my idea?
A limb in this phrase is a large branch of a tree.
See also: limb, on, out

risk ˌlife and ˈlimb

risk being killed or injured in order to do something: She risked life and limb to save her son from the fire.
See also: and, life, limb, risk

tear somebody ˌlimb from ˈlimb

(often humorous) attack somebody very violently: Julian looked so angry that I thought he was going to tear his brother limb from limb.
See also: limb, somebody, tear
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(out) on a limb

Informal
In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position.
See also: limb, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

out on a limb

Stranded, exposed. The image of an animal crawling out on the branch of a tree and then afraid or unable to retreat was figuratively applied to other vulnerable conditions by the late nineteenth century. Marion Holbrook defined it further in Suitable for Framing (1941): “This is what they mean when they talk about being out on the end of a limb. Or painted into a corner.” See also twist in the wind.
See also: limb, on, out

risk life and limb, to

To take a serious chance; to jeopardize one’s life. This extravagant hyperbole for courting danger has been around since the seventeenth century, even though strictly speaking it makes little sense (life, after all, comprises one’s limbs as well). “The Turk meddles not with life and limb,” wrote James Howell in a letter (1623), and Thomas Burton’s diary entry of 1658 states, “They venture life and member.”
See also: and, life, risk
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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