lim·i·ta·tion | \ˌli-mə-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of limitation 

1 : an act or instance of limiting

2 : the quality or state of being limited

3 : something that limits : restraint

4 : a certain period limited by statute after which actions, suits, or prosecutions cannot be brought in the courts

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Other Words from limitation

limitational \ˌli-mə-ˈtā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of limitation in a Sentence

a law aimed at the limitation of federal power They have placed a limitation on the amount of time we have available.

Recent Examples on the Web

The new teacher union rules are similar to those in Wisconsin’s controversial 2011 law that imposed strict limitations on that state’s teachers unions. Leslie Postal,, "New teachers union rules spark debate — and more dues-paying members," 12 July 2018 There are some blackout dates and other limitations. Doreen Christensen,, "Southwest Airlines has cheap summer fares starting at $57," 9 July 2018 What pushed McKellen to ultimately embrace and pursue this role despite the external limitations had everything to do with what’s inside Magneto, however. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "In new documentary, Ian McKellen reflects on Magneto, Gandalf," 8 July 2018 All of the tents currently exceed the 4-foot limitation being imposed by the city. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "City moves to squeeze Occupy ICE Louisville protest's camp," 7 July 2018 Climbing the Learning Curve Foremost among those challenges is the need to fill in gaping holes in our knowledge of life’s fundamental limitations. Leonard David, Scientific American, "As Space Becomes a Busy Place, NASA Bolsters Its Planet-Contamination Police," 3 July 2018 Young's new bill eliminates limitations on the councils that were added later, which Young says the councils need to keep fisheries stocked and support fishing communities. Erica Martinson, Anchorage Daily News, "Don Young’s bill to revise Magnuson-Stevens fishing law passes U.S. House," 13 July 2018 The Supreme Court later partly agreed with him, voting 5 to 4 to strike down the limitations on firing members of the board — but not the appointing provisions. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Brett Kavanaugh on the Issues: Abortion, Guns, Climate and More," 10 July 2018 Under the Trump administration, the group has fought cases concerning the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, limitations on transgender people serving in the military, and the recent separations of migrant families at the border. Renae Reints, Fortune, "The ACLU's Membership Has Surged and It's Putting Its New Resources to Use," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'limitation.' 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 limitation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for limitation

The first known use of limitation was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of limitation

: the act of controlling the size or extent of something : the act of limiting something

: something that controls how much of something is possible or allowed

: something (such as a lack of ability or strength) that controls what a person is able to do


lim·i·ta·tion | \ˌli-mə-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of limitation

1 : an act or instance of controlling the size or extent of something

2 : something that controls size or extent



Legal Definition of limitation 

1a : restriction a limitation on the rights of ownership

b : a statement or stipulation in a deed or will placing limits on the disposition of an estate or interest especially in regard to duration or heirs — see also word of limitation

2 : a certain period limited by statute after which actions or prosecutions cannot be brought in the courts — see also statute of limitations

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Comments on limitation

What made you want to look up limitation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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