Webster 1913 Edition



[Etymology unknown. Cf.
With a crook or bend; with the hand on the hip and elbow turned outward.
“With one arm akimbo.”

Definition 2023




A woman with arms akimbo.


akimbo (not comparable)

  1. With a crook or bend; with the hand on the hip and elbow turned outward.
    • 1892, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.
      "Now, then, mister," said he, with his head cocked and his arms akimbo, "what are you driving at? Let's have it straight, now."
    • 1921, Lydia Clark, Physical Training for the Elementary Schools: Gymnastics, Games, and Rhythmic Plays‎, page 66.
      Girls take hold of the skirts; boys place the hands akimbo, bend forward from the waist, and bow.
    • 2004, Zirka Z. Filipczak, "Poses and Passions: Mona Lisa's 'Closely Folded' Hands", in G K Paster, et al. (eds.) Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion‎, page 83.
      Men preferred one pose above all others, namely, the elbow akimbo.

Usage notes

  • Almost always used after the noun modified.



akimbo (not comparable)

  1. Into, in, or of the position where the arms are akimbo.
    The man was standing akimbo.
    • 1903 , Emily Constance Baird Cook, Highways and byways in London‎, page 430
      Otherwise, it is likely that she may be accosted as "dear" or "Sally,"—invited to take "a drop o' tea," or otherwise chaffed by rough women standing akimbo at street doors.
    • 1978, Padma Upadhyaya, Female Images in the Museums of Uttar Pradesh, page 272
      ...and the other end window bearing the figure of a woman standing akimbo with her right hand touching her right temple.