Where does the word “Akimbo” come from and What does Akimbo mean in Old Norse?

One can’t be certain about this, but the prevailing opinion among the word-delvers is that the word akimbo arose from a corrupted pronunciation of the medieval phrase in kene bowe, meaning “in a sharp bend,” just as is the shape of one’s arm when the hand rests on the hip, the present usual sense of the word.

But there was an Old Norse word, kengboginn, “bent double; crooked,” which may have been the source of our word.

Our language has undergone some mighty strange transformations, yet we mention this only because it has been given serious consideration.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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