Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Roman Catholic Church The abode of unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls, as those of infants or virtuous individuals who lived before the coming of Christ.
  • n. A region or condition of oblivion or neglect: Management kept her promotion in limbo for months.
  • n. A state or place of confinement.
  • n. An intermediate place or state.
  • n. A West Indian dance in which the dancers keep bending over backward and passing under a pole that is lowered slightly each time.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The place where innocent souls exist temporarily until they can enter heaven, notably those of the saints who died before the advent of Christ (limbus patruum) and those of unbaptized but innocent children (limbus infantum).
  • n. Any in-between place, state or condition of neglect or oblivion which results in an unresolved status, delay or deadlock.
  • n. A dance played by taking turns crossing under a horizontal bar or stick. The stick is lowered with each round, and the game is won by the player who passes under the bar in the lowest position.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An spiritual region where certain classes of souls were supposed to await the last judgment.
  • n. Hence: Any real or imaginary place of restraint or confinement; a prison.
  • n. A state of waiting, or uncertainty, in which final judgment concerning the outcome of a decision is postponed, perhaps indefinitely; neglect for an indefinite time.
  • n. A border or margin.
  • n. A West Indian dance contest, in which participants must dance under a pole which is lowered successively until only one participant can successfully pass under, without falling. It is often performed at celebrations, such as weddings.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A supposed border-land of hell; a region which has been believed by many to exist on the borders of hell, and to be the appointed abode of those who have not received the grace of Christ while living, and yet have not deserved the punishments of wilful and impenitent sinners. See the phrases.
  • n. Any similar region apart from this world.
  • n. A prison or other place of confinement; any place where things of little or doubtful value are deposited or thrown aside.
  • n. A kind of coarse cotton cloth worn by South Africans.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an imaginary place for lost or neglected things
  • n. the state of being disregarded or forgotten
  • n. (theology) in Roman Catholicism, the place of unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls (such as infants and virtuous individuals)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Medieval Latin (in) limbō, (in) Limbo, ablative of limbus, Limbo, from Latin, border.
Probably ultimately of African origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin limbus ("border") (cognate with limp), notably in the (ablative) expression in limbo ("on the edge"). (Wiktionary)
Word of uncertain West Indian (notably Jamaican) origin, probably an alteration of limber as it is a physical agility test. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And outside of Congress another race that remains in limbo is the contest for chairman of the Republican National Committee.

    The Saturday Word: New Congress Arrives, Amid Uncertainty - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Edwards was in limbo from the time former team president

    NFL coaching carousel 2008-09

  • My comment, while in limbo, is accessible here at the lagoon. jayackroyd

    Latest Column - Swampland - TIME.com

  • The plight of being brought back to life and forced to live in limbo is explored in all its complexity in Nick Moulton's "The Quick And The Dead".

    Nov, 14th, 2008 - Issue 0.010

  • I am in what they call limbo in my own country because of the invading British born Islamic army living here within my homeland that wants me dead and that are ultimately at war with our Judeo/Christian British society.

    Lionheart

  • The U.N. refugee chief has called on countries to end the plight of some 12 million stateless people caught in what he described as "limbo," denied basic human rights because no country will grant them citizenship.

    The Seattle Times

  • GENEVA - The U.N. refugee chief has called on countries to end the plight of some 12 million stateless people caught in what he described as "limbo," denied basic human rights because no country will grant them citizenship.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • If you are weak energy you stay caught in what we call limbo (the illusion of experience), if you are able to see the through or lift the veil and understand the distraction creating all the minds discontent you are what we call completing lessons controlling what you allow by understanding truths and false truths.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • But to think it’s taken seven years to get their “story” straight, and still no trials for those in limbo is unconscionable.

    Gitmo Gulag Rebuked « Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  • Related: Graham's exit puts climate change bill in limbo

    DeMint defends GOP opposition to current Wall St. bill

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Comments

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  • I still like St. Christopher, too, which shows you how much I listen.

    October 8, 2007

  • Abolished earlier this year by Pope Rat-zinger. Even as he was reopening hell. Any temporal relationship between the reopening of the inferno and the subsequent demise of Jerry Falwell is purely speculative.

    October 8, 2007

  • I can't really argue with experience. . .and I am pretty familiar with the place myself. I guess you can't always believe what you read in the news.

    June 16, 2007

  • It must still exist. I go there all the time.

    June 16, 2007

  • Delete that word! The place no longer exists.

    June 16, 2007