limber jack n
1 also limber jim: A whip or other flexible instrument of punishment.
1860 Hundley Social Relations S. States 224, Messrs. abolitionists, we warn you to beware of your instructor’s ferule, beware of his limber-jack; for he [=the Southern Bully] will cane you and cowskin you. 1940 Amer. Mercury 50.209 eKY, She wouldn’t spare the limber-jim. 1982 Slone How We Talked 32 eKY (as of c1950), Limber-jim—a small switch used to whip children.
2 also limber jim: A loose-jointed, flexible person; a contortionist.
1909 DN 3.346 eAL, wGA, Limber-jack. . . A limber person, one who goes through bodily contortions. Common. 1912 [see limber jack~3 below]. c1930 Swann Lang. Circus Lot 11, Limber Jim: A contortionist.
3 = jumping jack 5. [A jointed doll that can be made to “dance” by means of strings, a sliding stick, a rhythmically tapped wood splint, etc.] esp Sth, S Midl Cf supplejack
1912 Green VA Folk-Speech 262, Limber-jack. . . A wooden toy held by the head and the legs and arms made to move in an odd way by pulling a string between the legs. “Limber-jack” is a person that moves his arms and legs in a loose way. 1946 PADS 6.19 eNC 1900, Limber jack. . . Jumping jack. . . Rare. c1960 Wilson Coll. csKY, Limberjack . . toy, a jumping-jack. [1975 Thomas Hear the Lambs 144 nwAL, I thought you couldn’t be so pleasant if you knew they had been dancing at the hall most every day, after school. He’s been throwing her around and catching her, like he used to do; you know, he used to throw her up like a limber doll.] 1978 DARE File cwOR, A limber jack is a wooden doll with jointed shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees which, when held so that it just touches a thin piece of wood that is tapped rhythmically, can be made to dance. I learned of this from someone who knew it in Maine about 1925. The dolls were being sold at the Eugene Farmers Market as part of a folk-life revival. 1989 Flynt Poor But Proud 226 ceAL, Carefully joined wooden creatures called “limber jacks” could buck dance or jig to the finest fiddle tune.
4 also limber board: = joggling board [A thick but flexible board, supported at each end by uprights, upon which one sits and bounces.].
1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance (Joggling board) 2 infs, cnGA, cwMS, Limber jack; 2 infs, seAL, seMS, Limber board.
5 See limber ice. [= rubber ice.]