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 limitation (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 Mexican olive blooms are also exceptionally attractive, but their main limitation is cold winter temperatures. Calvin Finch,, "A guide to the small trees you should plant in your San Antonio garden: Mexican plum, Texas redbud, desert willow, Mexican olive," 22 Jan. 2021 Even some organizations now promoting carbon farming admit this is a limitation. Robert Paarlberg, Wired, "President Biden, Please Don't Get Into Carbon Farming," 22 Jan. 2021 People can also protest without limitation outside of the Capitol, noted Senate President Stuart Adams. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "How you can track, attend and even protest Utah legislative meetings this January," 18 Dec. 2020 In a landscape where customer attention is the scarcest resource, Shopify’s very identity as a neutral platform and invisible infrastructure is perhaps both its greatest asset and its greatest limitation. New York Times, "Can Shopify Compete with Amazon Without Becoming Amazon?," 17 Nov. 2020 But biological control faces its own limitation: There have to be enough borers in an area to sustain wasp populations. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Can an ambitious breeding effort save North America’s ash trees?," 12 Nov. 2020 The biggest limitation is that the irradiation can be a health hazard, to both skin and eye, which is why the fixtures are placed up high, away from people. Carolyn Barber, Scientific American, "Protecting against COVID's Aerosol Threat," 1 Oct. 2020 The limitation of the deduction for business meals has always hit small businesses disproportionately. WSJ, "Enough Lunchbag Letdown: Full Deductibility for Meals," 30 Dec. 2020 Mostly due to their shape, and the limitation of clothes that provide a comfy fit. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Meet The Curator Behind The Instagram Handle @Blitzfits," 22 Dec. 2020

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

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Limitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for limitation



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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