lim·​it | \ ˈli-mət How to pronounce limit (audio) \

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 How to pronounce limitless (audio) \ adjective
limitlessly adverb
limitlessness noun


limitable \ ˈli-​mə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce limitable (audio) \ 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

But give him a time limit, because her knowing — and your being able to talk to her without a silly secret that has zero reason to be kept — is more important than the source of the news. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Well before the wedding bells, get on the same page about children," 10 July 2019 The daily limits are different for medical cannabis customers who have a physician’s recommendation. Stepfanie Romine, USA TODAY, "Before you buy cannabis, brush up on California laws and safety precautions," 8 July 2019 Lawyers for then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sought to have the bid for resentencing thrown out, arguing that the time limit had passed, Byrne said. Dan Hinkel,, "Nancy Rish seeks new sentence in notorious 1987 murder of Kankakee businessman who was buried alive," 8 July 2019 The limit was part of a deal that eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme. The Economist, "Politics this week," 6 July 2019 Platten said the new shelter will replace a 1,500-square-foot, no-time-limit animal shelter that has been in operation in Berea since 1987. Rich Heileman,, "Berea ARF to break ground for new shelter: Around The Town," 5 July 2019 Some key recommendations for Japan from the group include extending the time limit for filing charges and increasing the maximum fines for individuals and companies in foreign bribery cases. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Antibribery Group Presses Japan to Increase Its Enforcement," 5 July 2019 The family limit is 150% to 180% of the parent’s full benefit amount. Liz Weston |,, "Liz Weston: Child benefits can change the math of Social Security claiming strategies," 30 June 2019 Saturday’s fight is scheduled for eight rounds and is contracted at 180 pounds, but Dawson said making the 175-pound limit is not an issue for him. Jonah Dylan,, "After over two years out of the ring, Chad Dawson looks to get back into world title contention," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But traction alopecia can be treated in its earlier stages with lifestyle modifications (changing or limiting tighter hairstyles, primarily) as well as topical, oral, or injected treatments. Tatiana Walk-morris, SELF, "5 Things People of Color Should Know About Taking Care of Their Skin," 12 July 2019 Cannabis dispensaries, where qualified patients can actually purchase cannabis, are limited to two per state senatorial district, and the two licenses for Carroll County were announced back in 2016. Jon Kelvey,, "Carroll County’s first cannabis dispensary holds open house ahead of Monday opening," 10 July 2019 In the past, Love Island has been widely criticized for its lack of diversity as well as for limiting the airtime of its Islanders of color. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "'Love Island USA' Has Left British Viewers Very Confused," 10 July 2019 While the increase in e-cigarette usage among middle and high-schoolers is concerning, this ban will likely have limited effects on vaping rates among young people while victimizing those (including teenagers) already addicted to nicotine. James P. Sutton, National Review, "San Francisco’s Vaping Ban Threatens to Push Teens Back Toward Cigarettes," 4 July 2019 Nike made Hawkins High School limited editions of three of its most popular sneakers. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Why Stranger Things is perfect for product promo," 3 July 2019 From DR Congo to Chad, Benin, Algeria, and Liberia, governments have limited access ahead of elections, political referenda, or anti-government protests. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Mauritania blocked the internet over protests though just one in five people are online," 28 June 2019 Her English skills are limited to nail salon words and basic pleasantries. Thembi Ford, Essence, "How My Vietnamese Nail Tech And I Bonded Over The Shared Experience Of Weaponized Whiteness," 28 June 2019 Pitchers are limited in capacity and may filter slowly, so big families may want a larger dispenser to stick in the fridge. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The 8 Best Water Filters to Purify Your Home’s Water," 28 June 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for limit

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce limit (audio) \

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

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