out on a 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.
*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.
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]
out on a limbor
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.
out on a limb1 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.
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.
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.