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

There’s a limit of two gift cards per household; booster seats aren’t eligible for trade-in. Leada Gore |, al, "Walmart child safety seat trade-in: First-ever event lasts through Sept. 30; what you need to know," 16 Sep. 2019 Physicists have set a new limit on the mass of nature’s lightest particle of matter. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Massive, blimplike experiment lowers weight limit on neutrino," 16 Sep. 2019 The dinghy dock previously had a three-day limit, but boaters were taking advantage of that and staying much longer, according to the application. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "County seeks after-the-fact permission for Harbor Patrol changes to dock and beach access in Newport," 14 Sep. 2019 Those three species are legal to take during the early teal season with a daily bag limit of six. Matt Wyatt, Houston Chronicle, "Teal season arrives for Texas hunters, and it’ll be a scorcher," 13 Sep. 2019 In late August there was even talk of adjusting the backstop by narrowing it to agrifoods or setting a time limit. The Economist, "Europe ponders how to avoid blame for no-deal," 12 Sep. 2019 That’s because Equifax set a limit of $31 million on the payments, with the money to be shared equally among a pool of victims numbering in the millions., "Equifax breach victims need to have credit monitoring - The Boston Globe," 12 Sep. 2019 There’s a 20-contestant limit, so keep an eye out for sign-ups on the restaurant’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Lake Nona man scarfs 60 dumplings for the win, then goes out for fro-yo," 11 Sep. 2019 Meeting global challenges There’s a limit to the wider lessons that can be applied from a place like Academyati. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "An innovative preschool in Qatar is teaching toddlers empathy," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Class sizes are limited; reservations are required at (858) 829-5861 or San Diego Union-Tribune, "Car club raises money for veterans at car show," 16 Sep. 2019 Bell did not practice Thursday, while being limited Friday and Saturday. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Cleveland Browns at New York Jets odds, picks and best bets [UPDATED]," 16 Sep. 2019 The Thunderhawks’ run stopping was efficient and didn’t allow Mason to gain a single yard by limiting the Comets to -18 rushing yards and -1 yards per carry. Alexander Harrison,, "Week 3 high school football scores from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana," 13 Sep. 2019 Running back Mark Ingram, who was limited Wednesday with a shoulder issue, was a full practice participant Thursday. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Former Desert Mountain standout Mark Andrews relishes chance to face Arizona Cardinals," 12 Sep. 2019 What’s more, Congress’s powers could and should be used to limit and even eradicate slavery when possible. Timothy Sandefur, National Review, "The Anti-Slavery Constitution," 12 Sep. 2019 Yarbrough said one of the limiting factors on attendance is the stadium’s capacity, which prevents the Missions from spiking higher totals on nights that are sellouts. Greg Luca,, "Up to standard? Missions learn lessons from first Triple-A season," 9 Sep. 2019 Their bodies are taken advantage of by the heroines of the movie, women whose legal options for real economic advancement are limited. Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Hustlers': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 The scale of her business, and her insistence on its independence, limited her profits, and Toledo never bought the ads that media outlets reward with editorial exposure. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, "Remembering Isabel Toledo, a Designer with Few Peers," 4 Sep. 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

7 Oct 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

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 fake an opponent out of position

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