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

The government controls access very carefully; of the more than 500 islands, many areas are off limits. Kai Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Washington state man is killed by bow and arrow on remote island in India," 21 Nov. 2018 Jughead may be the Serpent King now, but poor sweet Hot Dog is off limits! Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Archie's already made a terrible decision.," 11 Oct. 2018 No foods are off limits in her world, as both a dietitian and human being. SELF, "How Intuitive Eating Helped Me Stop Counting Calories and Following Impossible Food Rules," 24 Aug. 2018 In the enchanting world of celebrity weddings, nothing is off limits. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Best Celebrity Wedding Moments in Vogue," 26 July 2018 Now Abrams and Kemp will duke it out to succeed Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who can’t run again because of term limits. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Stacey Abrams Has to Beat Donald Trump's Guy to Become America's First Black Woman Governor," 25 July 2018 The boys are known for coming for each other on Twitter and Instagram, and nothing is off limits. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "20 Things You Didn't Know About Cole Sprouse," 25 July 2018 The Parisiens have long been admirers of Buffon, though his unwavering commitment to Juventus through thick and thin has seen the Italian superstar off limits, with Buffon staying put despite relegation to Serie B back in 2005., "PSG Signs Goalkeeping Legend Gianluigi Buffon to One-Year Deal," 6 July 2018 With their bullpen overtaxed and certain high-leverage relievers off limits, the Milwaukee Brewers needed starter Jhoulys Chacín to go deep in the game Thursday night against Atlanta. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 7, Braves 2: Jhoulys Chacín gives a weary bullpen some rest with 7 strong innings," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Obfuscation efforts included forming front companies to operate single ships, which would limit damage if the companies were uncovered. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "Fake Signals and Illegal Flags: How North Korea Uses Clandestine Shipping to Fund Regime," 28 Nov. 2018 That said, the rising star is hardly limited to a singular aesthetic. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Meet the Thai Superstar Who Stole the Show at Valentino’s Pre-Fall Extravaganza in Tokyo," 27 Nov. 2018 Auks were limited to the North Atlantic, while penguins are Southern Hemisphere-only animals — almost. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 Simply put, this is when voting locations close down entirely, limiting voter access to the process by moving polling places further from home. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Voter Suppression in the 2018 Midterms," 29 Oct. 2018 Getty Images President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at severely limiting immigration aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. Lauren Holter, Marie Claire, "If You Care About Immigration, Here's What You Need To Know About The Midterms," 16 Oct. 2018 In 2019, Amsterdam will also begin enforcing its new Airbnb rule, which limits hosts to 30 nights of rental per year, down from the current 60. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Amsterdam Takes Aim at Tourists in Red Light District," 9 Aug. 2018 Over the last few decades, asbestos has been outlawed in more than 50 countries, which has drastically limited the number of places where it is produced. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "AIA says EPA should impose a ‘blanket ban’ on asbestos," 9 Aug. 2018 The options were limited: walk down that street and make my way home (but break the law,) or never again see my family. Christine M. Flowers,, "As politicians duke it out, we must remember that most children just want to go home | Christine Flowers," 12 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

1 Dec 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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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