risk life and limb

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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

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

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

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
References in classic literature ?
"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.
A THRILL-seeker risked life and limb to walk between cliffs on Llandudno's Great Orme on a tightrope.
UNSUSPECTING motorists are understood to have risked life and limb by driving over a nail bomb last night.
I attended the local infant and junior schools, learned to play football and cricket at the 'Rec' on Westly Road, grew up with Lash LaRue and Flash Gordon at The Warwick cinema, risked life and limb playing tag on the railway platforms at Spring Road station, and celebrated Christmas and New Year with all the neighbours.
Both risked life and limb to perform death-defying stunts, with Kneivel famously breaking pretty much every bone in his body along the way.
DOZENS of daredevils risked life and limb yesterday as they chased a giant cheese down a steep slope in a bizarre traditional contest.
DOZENS of daredevils risked life and limb as they chased a giant cheese down a steep slope as part of a bizarre traditional contest.
These gentlemen risked life and limb to get this radar within striking distance of a tornado," comments Joseph H.
Whereas that was filled with genuine edge-of-the-seat drama as drivers risked life and limb speeding across frozen lakes to get vital supplies to remote towns, this series is slightly less do or die.
They risked life and limb to stop the axis threat so the people of today could live how live.
The brave soldier risked life and limb to save his friend and comrade Neil Coleman in a terrifying fire-fight in South Lebanon in 1992.