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

Italy’s debt is currently around 130 percent of GDP, far above the EU limit of 60 percent and the second highest in Europe after Greece. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy’s doesn’t budge in clash with EU over budget deficit," 13 Nov. 2018 That’s almost double the upper limit of what’s considered hazardous. Umair Irfan, Vox, "New Delhi is once again the most polluted city on Earth," 8 Nov. 2018 In a era where phones are pushing the limits of what can fit in our pockets, the V40 strikes a nice balance between too small and unwieldy. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Meet the LG V40 ThinQ: More screen, more battery, and more cameras," 3 Oct. 2018 The commodification of wellness — of good spiritual, physical and mental health — has limits of who can have access to it because of its costs. Tasnim Ahmed, Allure, "I Bought Into the Commercialized Wellness Industry and It Left Me Broke (and Unwell)," 9 Aug. 2018 That knowledge of the limits of what soccer can do will haunt even the most boisterous of celebrations if France wins on Sunday. Laurent Dubois, The Atlantic, "France’s Ghosts Return for the World Cup," 14 July 2018 There are income limits of $50,350 for individuals and $57,500 for double occupancy. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Waiting List Open For Southington Housing Authority Apartments," 13 July 2018 But that phrasing seems carefully chosen—and mirrors his comments in the indictment of the Internet Research Agency about the limits of that indictment. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could Be Mueller's Biggest Move Yet," 13 July 2018 Kananaugh remarks were clearly aimed at the Clinton administration, which did cast aspersions on the Starr investigation as a politicized attack that went beyond the limits of its inquiry. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump won’t like Brett Kavanaugh’s position on independent investigations of the White House.," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And even though Rahman used Yelp reviews to back up existing government data, the reviews are still limited. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Study claims Airbnb is great for your neighborhood’s economy, if it’s predominantly white," 11 July 2018 The Rays will argue that their current stadium limits their ability to compete—a view shared by Commissioner Rob Manfred—and they’re right. Jon Tayler,, "The Rays' Proposed New Stadium Looks Beautiful, But Who Is Going to Pay for It?," 11 July 2018 Of the psychiatrists working nationally, Merritt pointed out, half work on a cash-only basis, further limiting the access to psychiatric care. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "California needs more mental health professionals – and the shortage will get worse, experts say," 11 July 2018 There are drawbacks: bug-sized transmitters have weak ranges and short battery lives, limiting each tracker’s range to a maximum of two weeks and 300 feet. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Tiny Trackers Could Help Humans Avoid Kissing Bugs’ Deadly Smooch," 9 July 2018 The resolution said countries should limit the misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, as a mother’s breast milk has been shown to be the healthiest for children in decades of research. Renae Reints, Fortune, "U.S. Delegates Opposed an International Resolution That Supported Breastfeeding," 8 July 2018 Trump has accused China of unfairly acquiring U.S. technology through coercion and theft and limiting market access for U.S. finance and technology firms — claims that China denies. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "China says “fully prepared” if trade war kicks off this week," 3 July 2018 Russia, in turn, would promise to limit the Iranian presence near Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 In June, Celgene CEO Mark Alles vowed to limit price increases to once a year, capping them at the projected annual percentage growth in U.S. medical spending, which this year was forecast to be 5.3 percent. Robert Langreth And Cynthia Koons,, "Many drugmakers ignore Trump — and raise prices anyway," 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

17 Nov 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

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