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

  • n. The joint or bend of the arm between the forearm and the upper arm.
  • n. The bony outer projection of this joint.
  • n. A joint, as of a bird or quadruped, corresponding to the human elbow.
  • n. Something having a bend or angle similar to an elbow, especially:
  • n. A length of pipe with a sharp bend in it.
  • n. A sharp bend in a river or road.
  • transitive v. To push, jostle, or shove with the elbow: elbowed me in the ribs to get me to stop laughing.
  • transitive v. To open up (a means of passage, for example) by or as if by use of the elbow: elbowed her way through the crowd.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way by pushing with the elbow.
  • intransitive v. To turn at an angle; bend: The lane elbows to the left.
  • idiom at (one's) elbow Close at hand; nearby.
  • idiom out at the elbows Poorly dressed.
  • idiom out at the elbows Lacking money.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The joint between the upper arm and the forearm.
  • n. A pipe fitting that turns a corner.
  • n. A detective.
  • v. To push with the elbow; to jostle or force.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The joint or bend of the arm; the outer curve in the middle of the arm when bent.
  • n. Any turn or bend like that of the elbow, in a wall, building, and the like; a sudden turn in a line of coast or course of a river; also, an angular or jointed part of any structure, as the raised arm of a chair or sofa, or a short pipe fitting, turning at an angle or bent.
  • n. A sharp angle in any surface of wainscoting or other woodwork; the upright sides which flank any paneled work, as the sides of windows, where the jamb makes an elbow with the window back.
  • intransitive v. To jut into an angle; to project or to bend after the manner of an elbow.
  • intransitive v. To push rudely along; to elbow one's way.
  • transitive v. To push or hit with the elbow, as when one pushes by another.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To push or shove with or as if with the elbow; hence, figuratively, to push or thrust by overbearing means; crowd: as, to elbow people aside in a crowd; to elbow a rival out of the way.
  • To make or gain by pushing with the elbows: as, to elbow one's way through a crowd.
  • To jut into an angle; project; bend or curve abruptly, as a wall or a stream.
  • To jostle with or as if with the elbow; push one's way; hence, figuratively, to be rudely self-assertive or aggressive.
  • n. The bend of the arm; the angle made by bending the arm at the junction of the upper arm with the forearm.
  • n. In anatomy, the elbow-joint and associate structures. See elbow-joint.
  • n. Something curved or bent like the human elbow; specifically, a flexure or angle of a wall or road, especially if not acute; a sudden turn or bend in a river or the sea-coast; a jointed or curved piece of pipe for water, smoke, gas, etc., designed to connect two lines running at an angle to each other.
  • n. In carpentry, etc., one of the upright sides which flank any paneled work. See crosset.
  • n. The raised arm of a chair or end of a sofa, designed to support the arm or elbow.
  • n. A shoulder-point in cattle. Grose. —At one's elbow, near at hand; convenient; within call.
  • n. In carriages, the rail that, forms the upper part of the frame of the quarter.

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

  • n. a sharp bend in a road or river
  • v. shove one's elbow into another person's ribs
  • v. push one's way with the elbows
  • n. hinge joint between the forearm and upper arm and the corresponding joint in the forelimb of a quadruped
  • n. a length of pipe with a sharp bend in it
  • n. the joint of a mammal or bird that corresponds to the human elbow
  • n. the part of a sleeve that covers the elbow joint


Middle English elbowe, from Old English elnboga.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English elnboga, from Germanic, corresponding to ell + bow. Cognate with Dutch elleboog, German Ellbogen. (Wiktionary)



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  • You're kissing your elbow
    You're kissing your reflection
    And you can't understand why all the other boys are going for the
    New, tall, elegant rich kids
    You can bet it is a bitch, kid
    But if they don't see the quality then it is apparent that
    You're going to have to change
    Or you're going to have to go with girls
    You might be better off
    At least they know where to put it.

    (Seeing other people, by Belle and Sebastian)

    October 29, 2008