Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Any similar region apart from this world.
  • noun A prison or other place of confinement; any place where things of little or doubtful value are deposited or thrown aside.
  • noun A kind of coarse cotton cloth worn by South Africans.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Scholastic Theol.) An spiritual region where certain classes of souls were supposed to await the last judgment.
  • noun Hence: Any real or imaginary place of restraint or confinement; a prison.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Anat.) A border or margin.
  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Roman Catholic theology 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).
  • noun by extension Any in-between place, state or condition of neglect or oblivion which results in an unresolved status, delay or deadlock.
  • noun 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin limbus ("border") (cognate with limp), notably in the (ablative) expression in limbo ("on the edge").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Word of uncertain West Indian (notably Jamaican) origin, probably an alteration of limber as it is a physical agility test.

Examples

  • Edwards was in limbo from the time former team president

    NFL coaching carousel 2008-09

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Latest Column - Swampland - TIME.com

  • 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.

    Archive 2001-01-01

  • 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.

    Archive 2001-01-01

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Delete that word! The place no longer exists.

    June 16, 2007

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

    June 16, 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

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

    October 8, 2007