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

Because of technical limitations on floats, performers at the Thanksgiving Day Parade commonly lip-sync during the live telecast. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson's Performance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Has Everyone Talking," 26 Nov. 2018 If scientists can discover a way to circumvent a genetic limitation — say, adding cat DNA to human eyes cells to see better in the dark — such therapies can become tools in the enhancement chest. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Short-Term Superhuman: If We Create Augmented Soldiers, Can We Turn Them Back?," 25 Sep. 2018 One limitation of the study is that researchers relied on insurance claims data that are designed for billing and may not always provide an accurate picture of why patients received specific treatments, the authors note. Fox News, "Urgent care centers often prescribe unnecessary antibiotics," 19 July 2018 Board members Phil Costello and Sue Kerr indicated support for a pathway approach to secondary education, but with some limitations. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "Board members question U46 career academies and pathways proposal," 5 June 2018 Tony Kemp's emergence coupled with Davis' defensive limitations to produce just six plate appearances and one start in his first six games. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros, Verlander beat Yankees as bullpen holds on," 28 May 2018 Using tolerance itself as a basis to countenance the spread of limitations on that tolerance amounts to a flawed equivalency in this case, a rhetorical snake choking on its tail. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 6 Recap - 12 Haunting Moments From 'First Blood'," 23 May 2018 Even Brown and Simmons himself questioned what was going to happen on the defensive end and what Simmons’ limitations would be. Sarah Todd,, "Why Ben Simmons, not Joel Embiid, is most vital to Sixers in NBA playoffs," 12 Apr. 2018 The review of the records has limitations and isn’t enough to establish a direct cause and effect, Getahun cautioned. Avichai Scher /, NBC News, "Study finds health risks for transgender women on hormone therapy," 9 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

18 Dec 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).


a knickknack or trinket

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