lim·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌli-mə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce limitation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce limitational (audio) , -​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 At the time of the report, only four of the 11 participating Free File software companies offered services to taxpayers of all ages, with further limitations based on income, state of residence or other factors. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "The 2020 tax-filing season opens Jan. 27 — Here's what you need to know," 19 Jan. 2020 The stream of Republican departures comes amid deep frustration among the rank and file with the limitations of being in the minority in the House, which is entirely dominated by the majority. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "Phil Roe, Tennessee Republican, Announces Retirement from Congress," 3 Jan. 2020 Every year, the South Korean music industry serves up a wide array of music that spreads its reach across the globe, experimenting with the limitations of popular music. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best K-pop Songs of 2019: Critics' Picks," 29 Dec. 2019 Tai Chi also reduces falls and improves balance in the elderly, and is easier than traditional exercise for some with frail health or physical limitations. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Medicine in motion: How Tai Chi heals body and mind," 13 Dec. 2019 There is also the issue of the wide variability between states in their requirements to obtain a hunting license, and the possibility license-holders from more restrictive states could access firearms in those with fewer limitations. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "'A real security problem': Pensacola shooting exposes exception in US gun policy that leaves Americans vulnerable," 12 Dec. 2019 In October, three dozen Democrats and just four Republicans introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana with far fewer limitations. Brett Bauer,, "Republican support grows for legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin," 10 Dec. 2019 Letting so many sellers in with few limitations has also created a marketplace for fakes that were more often found on street corners or flea markets. Jay Greene, Washington Post, "How Amazon’s quest for more, cheaper products has resulted in a flea market of fakes," 14 Nov. 2019 Even with those limitations, the menu proved to be inspired. Los Angeles Times, "How many meals were served on that 19-hour flight? Fewer than you’d think," 23 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for limitation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for limitation

Last Updated

30 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Limitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce limitation (audio)

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 How to pronounce limitation (audio) \

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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