display | more...

Lim"bo (?), Lim"bus (?), n. [L. limbus border, edge in limbo on the border. Cf. Limb border.]

1. Scholastic Theol.

An extramundane region where certain classes of souls were supposed to await the judgment.

As far from help as Limbo is from bliss. Shak.

A Limbo large and broad, since called The Paradise of fools. Milton.

The limbus patrum was considered as a place for the souls of good men who lived before the coming of our Savior. The limbus infantium was said to be a similar place for the souls of unbaptized infants. To these was added, in the popular belief, the limbus fatuorum, or fool's paradise, regarded as a receptacle of all vanity and nonsense.


Hence: Any real or imaginary place of restraint or confinement; a prison; as, to put a man in limbo.

<-- hence: 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 -->

3. Anat.

A border or margin; as, the limbus of the cornea.

<-- 4. 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. [MW10 Jamaican E limba to bend, fr. E. limber (1950)]. Often performed at celebrations, such as weddings. (1950-1996) -->


© Webster 1913.