lim·it | \ ˈli-mət \

Definition of limit 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that bounds, restrains, or confines the age limit for junior golf

b : the utmost extent pushed her body to the limit

2a : a geographic or political boundary

b limits plural : the place enclosed within a boundary : bounds into the limits of the North they came —John Milton

3 : limitation the sadness is without limit —William Shakespeare

4 : a determining feature or differentia in logic

5 : a prescribed maximum or minimum amount, quantity, or number: such as

a : the maximum quantity of game or fish that may be taken legally in a specified period

b : a maximum established for a gambling bet, raise, or payoff

6a : a number whose numerical difference from a mathematical function is arbitrarily small for all values of the independent variables that are sufficiently close to but not equal to given prescribed numbers or that are sufficiently large positively or negatively

b : a number that for an infinite sequence of numbers is such that ultimately each of the remaining terms of the sequence differs from this number by less than any given positive amount

7 : something that is exasperating or intolerable We've had bad weather, but this is the limit.


limited; limiting; limits

Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to assign certain limits to : prescribe reserved the right to limit use of the land

2a : to restrict the bounds or limits of the specialist can no longer limit himself to his specialty

b : to curtail or reduce in quantity or extent we must limit the power of aggressors

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Other words from limit


limitless \ˈli-mət-ləs \ adjective
limitlessly adverb
limitlessness noun


limitable \ˈli-mə-tə-bəl \ adjective
limiter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for limit

Synonyms: Noun

bound, boundary, cap, ceiling, confines, end, extent, limitation, line, termination

Synonyms: Verb

cap, circumscribe, confine, hold down, restrict

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for limit


limit, restrict, circumscribe, confine mean to set bounds for. limit implies setting a point or line (as in time, space, speed, or degree) beyond which something cannot or is not permitted to go. visits are limited to 30 minutes restrict suggests a narrowing or tightening or restraining within or as if within an encircling boundary. laws intended to restrict the freedom of the press circumscribe stresses a restriction on all sides and by clearly defined boundaries. the work of the investigating committee was carefully circumscribed confine suggests severe restraint and a resulting cramping, fettering, or hampering. our choices were confined by finances

Examples of limit in a Sentence


He has reached the limit of his endurance. In training, she pushed her body to its physical limits. He tries to be creative within the limits of conventional journalism. There are limits to what I can put up with from him!


We need to find ways to limit expenses. He tried to limit the damage to his reputation by blaming other people. A factor limiting our country's economic performance is its lack of resources. Our lack of money limits our options. Because of our lack of money, we have to limit ourselves to fewer options.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Get our daily newsletter In particular, Mr Trump and Mr Putin need to consider whether to extend New START, a treaty that sets limits on the number of strategic warheads that each country may deploy, and provides for regular inspections. The Economist, "What Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin ought to talk about in Helsinki," 12 July 2018 States are welcome to set emissions limits that are more strict than federal law, but not less strict. Ray Magliozzi,, "Car Talk: It's Safe To Use Seat Heaters If Stranded In Snow," 11 July 2018 There's no age limit on this one, so adults can get in on on the action too. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "How To Have The Most Spooktacular Halloween At Disney World," 11 July 2018 Banister apparently told Eric Nadel on the pregame show that 170 innings is the limit. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: How the rotation could become even more jumbled by Aug. 1," 10 July 2018 But Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley can set reasonable limits, especially since this history doesn’t bear directly on a Justice’s duties. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Justice With a Record," 8 July 2018 In Massachusetts, after being forced to do so by the state’s top court, the Baker administration last year issued sweeping new regulations that set specific limits on sources of greenhouse gases. David Abel,, "Emissions measures could be too low," 7 July 2018 The initiative would repeal a 23-year-old state law, known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, that sets tight limits on all forms of rent control across California. Bee Staff, sacbee, "Rent control hearing draws crowd," 21 June 2018 Since 1997, an order from a federal district court judge in California has set limits on how long children can be detained by immigration authorities. NBC News, "Justice Department asks court for right to detain migrant families for long periods," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mr Sharif’s opponents hope that prison will limit his ability to influence politics. The Economist, "Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan, and jail," 14 July 2018 In this year’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, the Court opened a new front, arguing that the First Amendment limited states’ ability to enact anti-discrimination laws. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh and the new judicial activism," 12 July 2018 While transportation emissions climbed that year, the board credits biofuels with limiting the damage. Lucas Laursen, Fortune, "California Beat Its 2020 Emissions Target Four Years Early," 12 July 2018 The board could also set said liquor license restrictions prohibiting the sale of such things as 40-ounce beer cans or bottles or limiting the percentage of floor space given to alcoholic products, village attorney Derke Price said. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "Ban may be lifted on gas stations selling beer and wine in South Elgin," 6 July 2018 Other crucial elements have been financial support from the school’s foundation and site council so two math teachers could be in the classroom for lower-level courses and limiting classes to around 25 students (instead of 36 to 39). Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Del Norte High math students meet challenge," 5 July 2018 Federal land covers 87 percent of the county, limiting economic development. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Feds broke promises to NC county for 75 years. A big bank deposit changed all that.," 3 July 2018 The toy company said local authorities had forced locations to limit the number of people in line after massive crowds gathering outside stores, including in malls, caused safety concerns. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Build-A-Bear closes lines for 'Pay Your Age' sale at US stores amid chaos," 13 July 2018 The proposed pay standard would incentivize companies to better utilize drivers and their vehicles, which would raise their hourly earnings and limit the number of cars on crowded city streets. WSJ, "A Wage Hike for Drivers Wouldn’t Sink Ride Services," 13 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of limit


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for limit


Middle English, from Anglo-French limite, from Latin limit-, limes boundary


see limit entry 1

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Statistics for limit

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for limit

The first known use of limit was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for limit



English Language Learners Definition of limit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a point beyond which it is not possible to go

: a point beyond which someone is not allowed to go

: an amount or number that is the highest or lowest allowed



English Language Learners Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stop or prevent an increase in (something) : to keep (something) from becoming greater

: to prevent (something) from being larger, longer, more, etc. : to place a limit on the size or extent of (something)

: to stop (someone) from having or doing more : to place a limit on (someone)


lim·it | \ ˈli-mət \

Kids Definition of limit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a point beyond which it is impossible to go She runs often, but she knows her limits.

2 : an amount or number that is the lowest or highest allowed After I spent my limit, I went home.

3 : a boundary line the city limits


limited; limiting

Kids Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to place a control on the size or extent of something I need to limit expenses.

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More from Merriam-Webster on limit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for limit

Spanish Central: Translation of limit

Nglish: Translation of limit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of limit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about limit

Comments on limit

What made you want to look up limit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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