Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ethel Tan and standing akimbo

Of all the words in the English language one of the strangest is "akimbo".

When I was a kid I would often come across the word in stories in which people were described as standing with their "arms akimbo," and be utterly clueless as to what the term meant.

What exactly is someone doing if they are standing with their “arms akimbo”, I would wonder.

Are they holding their arms up in the air?

Or, perhaps, folded in front of them?

Or are they even just straight?

But eventually, I made the effort to look up the word in one of the dictionaries lying around the house. And this is what it said:

Akimbo, adj. placed in such a way as to have the hands on the hips and the elbows bowed outward.

Ah of course! Standing with your hands on your hips!

Or just like this:

 Ethel Tan
Ethel Tan standing akimbo in a little black dress


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