a position of the body


akimbo = die Arme in die Hüften (Seite) gestemmt, mit den Händen in der Hüfte



“Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Man, Half-Length, With His Arms AKIMBO.”

Jonathan Jones - The Guardian (16th August 2011)

Did you


- with hands on the hips and elbows turned outwards

Oxford Languages


The word "akimbo" comes from the Middle English phrase in kenebowe, which meant "at a sharp angle" or "at a sharp bend." Over time, the phrase evolved into on kenbow, which eventually became "akimbo" in Modern English.

The "ki-" part of the original phrase likely comes from the Old Norse word keng or kengr, meaning "crooked" or "bent." The "-bow" part likely comes from the Old English word bugan, meaning "to bend" or "to bow."

The earliest known use of the word "akimbo" in English was in the 1400s, when it was used to describe a bent or curved object. The use of the word to describe a posture with hands on hips and elbows bent outward dates back to at least the 1700s.


A surprising fact about the "arms akimbo" posture is that it is actually universal across many cultures around the world. While the exact meaning of the gesture can vary depending on the context and culture, it is generally associated with feelings of confidence, assertiveness, and even aggression.

In Western cultures, the "arms akimbo" posture is often associated with displays of power or defiance; in parts of Africa and South Korea, more positively with feelings of pride*.

It's also interesting to note that the "arms akimbo" posture has been studied by psychologists and anthropologists as a nonverbal expression of dominance and status. Research suggests that people who adopt this posture are perceived as more powerful, confident, and assertive, and may even feel more powerful themselves as a result.

*Exploring Cultural Differences in the Recognition of the Self-Conscious Emotions" Joanne M. Chung, Richard W. Robins (Nov 2015)

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Stand with ARMS AKIMBO and tell me how differently you feel compared to with hands in your pockets.”

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