limbo

1 of 2

noun (1)

lim·​bo ˈlim-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce limbo (audio)
plural limbos
1
often capitalized : an abode of souls that are according to Roman Catholic theology barred from heaven because of not having received Christian baptism
2
a
: a place or state of restraint or confinement
trapping travelers in an airless limboSam Boal
b
: a place or state of neglect or oblivion
proposals kept in limbo
c
: an intermediate or transitional place or state
the adolescent occupies a special human limboNew Republic
d
: a state of uncertainty
The graduate was in limbo for a while, trying to decide what to do next.

limbo

2 of 2

noun (2)

plural limbos
: a dance or contest that involves bending over backwards and passing under a horizontal pole lowered slightly for each successive pass

Examples of limbo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Talk of restoring it and opening it to the public remained in seemingly perpetual limbo for decades, mired in bureaucratic delays and legal disputes led by surrounding residents in a leafy neighborhood that has gone increasingly upscale since Douglas held court there. Claire Grunewald, Miami Herald, 31 May 2024 After years of film rights floating in production limbo, A24 and Baumbach finally adapted the postmodern classic, which follows a college professor (Adam Driver) and his fourth wife (Greta Gerwig), who are both inordinately afraid of death. Janey Tracey, EW.com, 23 May 2024 By Sunday, the bodies of four workers, including Maynor, still had not been found, leaving families in a painful limbo. Cassidy Jensen, Baltimore Sun, 20 May 2024 By Yasmeen Serhan May 22, 2024 10:20 AM EDT Since 1948, Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have remained effectively stateless, caught in the limbo of a decades-long peace process that has yielded neither peace nor a state to call their own. Yasmeen Serhan, TIME, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for limbo 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'limbo.' 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

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Medieval Latin, ablative of limbus limbo, from Latin, border

Noun (2)

English of Trinidad & Barbados; akin to Jamaican English limba to bend, from English limber entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of limbo was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near limbo

Cite this Entry

“Limbo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/limbo. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

limbo

1 of 2 noun
lim·​bo ˈlim-bō How to pronounce limbo (audio)
plural limbos
1
often capitalized : a place for souls (as of unbaptized infants) believed to be barred from heaven through no fault of their own
2
a
: a place or state of being held or forgotten
b
: a middle place or state

limbo

2 of 2 noun
: a dance or contest that involves bending backward and passing under a horizontal pole
Etymology

Noun

Middle English limbo "a place for souls," derived from Latin limbus (same meaning), from earlier limbus "border"

Noun

from the English of Trinidad and Barbados limbo "a dance that involves bending backwards under a pole," related to Jamaican English limba "to bend," from English limber "flexible"

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