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Out on a limb

Posted by ESC on September 10, 2005

In Reply to: Out on a limb posted by Martin on September 10, 2005

: I was wondering about the source of the expression "going out on a bit of a limb". What's its definition and where does it come from?

OUT ON A LIMB - "In an exposed or dangerous position. One can surmise that the literal origin of this saying was the treed animal, which was highly vulnerable to the hunter if it got out on a limb. The saying originated in the United States and by 1897 had acquired its figurative meaning, which is seen in 'Wolfville' by A.H. Louis: 'Several of us.seein' whatever we can tie down and brand, when some Mexicans gets us out on a limb.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).

I think of the cartoon scenario where one character is out on a limb and the other character has a saw.