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

Synonyms: Verb

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

Noun 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! Verb 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 There has long been bipartisan ambivalence, overall, about the legal limits of American military activity and aid, and the present tensions have been crafted not only by Trump but by members of the American political establishment. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Our Frightening Moment Was Years in the Making," 8 Jan. 2020 The driver failed field sobriety tests and later registered a .222 percent blood-alcohol content on a breath test – nearly three times the legal limit for intoxication. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Hotel guest puts on striptease show for police during arrest: Independence Police Blotter," 4 Jan. 2020 Couch was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit for adult drivers after the 2013 crash. CBS News, ""Affluenza teen" to be released from jail after alleged probation violation is questioned," 3 Jan. 2020 The Tennessee legal limit is .08, the state’s department of safety reported. Jen Juneau,, "Sam Hunt Releases New Song Over a Month After Arrest for DUI and Open Container Charges," 3 Jan. 2020 Couch was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit for adult drivers after the 2013 crash. Washington Post, "Texas ‘affluenza teen’ to be released; drug test questioned," 3 Jan. 2020 Couch, who was 16 at the time, was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit for adult drivers. NBC News, "'Affluenza teen' jailed in Texas for probation violation," 2 Jan. 2020 Alvarez's blood alcohol level was .111, which is beyond the legal limit of .08, according to the document. Christopher Roth, azcentral, "DUI suspect attempts to pepper spray Gilbert officer," 30 Dec. 2019 Results from a blood test showed his blood alcohol level was 0.2%, about 2.5 times the legal limit and the equivalent of consuming 10 drinks an hour. Amir Vera, CNN, "From licking ice cream to storming Area 51, these 8 stories made 2019 a wild year," 29 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Union officials believe organizing a rotating system of teachers would give educators a voice during the session, while potentially limiting or preventing district-closing sickouts. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "JCPS teachers would get extra time to protest in Frankfort under union proposal," 10 Jan. 2020 Kansas has a very efficient offense, not taking a lot of bad shots while limiting turnovers. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Kansas at Iowa State odds, picks and best bets," 8 Jan. 2020 Trump authorized the strike after the recent attacks, and military planners looked for an opportunity to kill Soleimani while limiting civilian casualties, according to a senior U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Qasem Soleimani: The Pentagon had tracked Iranian general for years before he was killed," 4 Jan. 2020 Next year’s Quadrantids shower will happen during daylight hours for most of the U.S., limiting viewing options. Dallas News, "Dallas-Fort Worth will have optimal viewing conditions for the first major meteor shower of 2020," 3 Jan. 2020 And junior Xavier Tilman added 19 points, seven boards and a personal-best six assists while limiting 6-9 Giorgi Bezhanishvili to six points on 3-for-12 shooting. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball thumps Illinois, 76-56, behind Cassius Winston's return," 3 Jan. 2020 Saturday at Seattle: a strong game as Portland limited a hot Seattle team’s chances while the game was close, coming out with a 4-1 win. Dylan Bumbarger, oregonlive, "Winterhawks Player of the Week: Johnny Ludvig," 30 Dec. 2019 As a result, they are often diagnosed at a later stage, limiting treatment options. Lauren Caruba,, "He was embarrassed by his breast cancer diagnosis. Now, he wants others to know men are at risk, too.," 28 Dec. 2019 The Florida International offense also struggled as Minnesota limited the Panthers to a season-low 62 points. Paul Hodowanic, Twin Cities, "Gabe Kalscheur, Daniel Oturu lead Gophers to win over Richard Pitino’s previous team," 28 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for limit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for limit

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Limit.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for limit


How to pronounce limit (audio)

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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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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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