akimbo

adjective or adverb

akim·​bo ə-ˈkim-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce akimbo (audio)
1
: having the hand on the hip and the elbow turned outward
2
: set in a bent position
a tailor sitting with legs akimbo

Did you know?

It's akimbo nowadays, but in Middle English, the adverbial phrase in kenebowe was used for the bent, hand-on-hip arm (or later, for any bent position). Originally, the term was fairly neutral, but now saying that a person is standing with "arms akimbo" implies a posture that communicates defiance, confidence, aggressiveness, or arrogance.

Examples of akimbo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On Wednesday, Noelle — bundled into a light-pink sweatshirt against the springtime cold — stood with her legs apart, arms slightly akimbo, locked into a track star’s almost-crouch. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'akimbo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English in kenebowe

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of akimbo was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near akimbo

Cite this Entry

“Akimbo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/akimbo. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

akimbo

adjective or adverb
akim·​bo ə-ˈkim-bō How to pronounce akimbo (audio)
1
: having the hand on the hip and the elbow turned outward
2
: set in a bent position
legs akimbo
Etymology

Middle English in kenebowe "akimbo"

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