el·​bow | \ ˈel-ˌbō \

Definition of elbow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the joint of the human arm
b : a corresponding joint in the anterior limb of a lower vertebrate
2 : something (such as macaroni or an angular pipe fitting) resembling an elbow
at one's elbow
: at one's side
out at elbows or out at the elbows
1 : shabbily dressed
2 : short of funds


elbowed; elbowing; elbows

Definition of elbow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to push with the elbow : jostle
b : to shove aside by pushing with or as if with the elbow people elbowed each other to get a better view
2 : to force (one's way) by pushing with or as if with the elbow elbowing our way through the crowd

intransitive verb

1 : to advance by pushing with the elbow
2 : to make an angle : turn

Examples of elbow in a Sentence

Noun He wore a tattered coat with holes in the elbows. Verb The actor's bodyguards rudely elbowed everyone out of the way. Everyone was shoving and elbowing to get a good position.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Also had surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2022 He was shut down for a couple of weeks after an exam showed a Grade 1 sprain of a ligament in his elbow. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 26 June 2022 Devers was drilled in his left elbow by A.J. Puk in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 4-3 loss against Oakland. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 16 June 2022 Ryu will miss the rest of the season because of ligament damage in his elbow, the team announced Tuesday. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 15 June 2022 The 6-3 senior threw a slider in the third inning of a mid-season game against Brebeuf Jesuit and felt a pop in his elbow — the type of injuries pitchers dread. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 8 June 2022 First there was a strained flexor mass in his elbow that forced him to miss much of his 2017 season. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 29 May 2022 The next day, Ohtani was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 2 sprain, again to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The initial diagnosis revealed a medial collateral ligament sprain in his elbow. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 16 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The new 25-piece collection ($690 to $2,900) includes new riffs on bandage dresses, along with crop tops, catsuits, long and short skirts, and elbow gloves. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 June 2022 Malinowski must now fend off Tom Kean Jr., the son of former Gov. Thomas Kean, whose legacy helps him elbow out the competition from both more moderate and MAGA wings of the Jersey GOP. Brittany Shepherd, ABC News, 11 June 2022 Salespeople know why prospects don't buy, are elbow-deep in the product experience and are a sounding board for customer feedback. Vanessa Dreifuss, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Sofia Coppola is seated, elbow perched on knee, on the oak steps of the McKim, Mead, and White Stair Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chloe Malle, Vogue, 14 Apr. 2022 The Orioles are awaiting a second opinion on the state of left-hander John Means’ elbow, but there’s uncertainty surrounding whether the ace will return at all this season. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 16 Apr. 2022 Bloomberg touted Guo as on the vanguard of mainland property developers poised to elbow aside Hong Kong's homegrown property tycoons as Beijing asserted greater control over the former British colony. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 8 Dec. 2021 The Clippers were also missing forwards Paul George (elbow) and Robert Covington (personal reasons), and guards Normal Powell (foot), Jason Preston (foot) and Jay Scrubb (foot) in a 106-102 win over the Pistons on Sunday. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 14 Mar. 2022 Wilson hit her head and elbow on the concrete during the fall, the report said, and was taken to a nearby hospital. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, 9 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elbow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of elbow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1605, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for elbow


Middle English elbowe, from Old English elboga, from el- (akin to eln ell) + Old English boga bow — more at ell, bow

Learn More About elbow

Time Traveler for elbow

The first known use of elbow was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near elbow



elbow bending

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Statistics for elbow

Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Elbow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elbow. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for elbow


el·​bow | \ ˈel-ˌbō \

Kids Definition of elbow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the joint or the region of the joint of the arm or of the same part of an animal's front legs
2 : a part (as of a pipe) bent like an elbow


elbowed; elbowing

Kids Definition of elbow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to jab with an elbow
2 : to push or force a way with or as if with the elbows He elbowed his way past Officer Delinko …— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot


el·​bow | \ ˈel-ˌbō \

Medical Definition of elbow

1 : the joint between the human forearm and the upper arm that supports the outer curve of the arm when bent

called also elbow joint

2 : a joint in the anterior limb of a lower vertebrate corresponding to the elbow

More from Merriam-Webster on elbow

Nglish: Translation of elbow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elbow for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elbow


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