a. The joint or bend of the arm between the forearm and the upper arm.
b. The bony outer projection of this joint.
2. A joint, as of a bird or quadruped, corresponding to the human elbow.
3. Something having a bend or angle similar to an elbow, especially:
a. A length of pipe with a sharp bend in it.
b. A sharp bend in a river or road.
v. el·bowed, el·bow·ing, el·bows
1. To push, jostle, or shove with the elbow: elbowed me in the ribs to get me to stop laughing.
2. To open up (a means of passage, for example) by or as if by use of the elbow: elbowed her way through the crowd.
1. To make one's way by pushing with the elbow.
2. To turn at an angle; bend: The lane elbows to the left.
at (one's) elbow
Close at hand; nearby.
out at the elbows
1. Poorly dressed.
2. Lacking money.
[Middle English elbowe, from Old English elnboga; see el- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)elbow
90° angle elbow with female threads at both ends
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.