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lim·​it ˈli-mət How to pronounce limit (audio)
: something that bounds, restrains, or confines
the age limit for junior golf
: the utmost extent
pushed her body to the limit
: a geographic or political boundary
limits plural : the place enclosed within a boundary : bounds
into the limits of the North they cameJohn Milton
: limitation
the sadness is without limitWilliam Shakespeare
: a determining feature or differentia in logic
: a prescribed maximum or minimum amount, quantity, or number: such as
: the maximum quantity of game or fish that may be taken legally in a specified period
: a maximum established for a gambling bet, raise, or payoff
: 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
: 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
: something that is exasperating or intolerable
We've had bad weather, but this is the limit.
limitless adjective
limitlessly adverb
limitlessness noun


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limited; limiting; limits

transitive verb

: to assign certain limits to : prescribe
reserved the right to limit use of the land
: to restrict the bounds or limits of
the specialist can no longer limit himself to his specialty
: to curtail or reduce in quantity or extent
we must limit the power of aggressors
limitable adjective
limiter noun
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

Noun 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! Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The Times notes that many public health advocates believe the legal limit for lead in drinking water should have been lowered further to between zero and five parts per billion, as scientists say there is no safe level of lead exposure, particularly for children. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 But given that, right now, free users can have up to 100,000 notes and up to 250 notebooks, heavy users who have relied on the free version might immediately run into the new limits once December 4th rolls around. Jay Peters, The Verge, 29 Nov. 2023 Experts say the supply-and-demand mismatch limits opportunities for families and communities alike: Without reliable and affordable child care, parents can’t join the workforce, stunting household financial stability and regional economies. Alfredo Sosa, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Nov. 2023 Sytch’s blood alcohol level an hour after the crash was between .32 and .34, which is more than four times the legal limit, prosecutors said. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2023 At the time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered the German automaker had duped regulatory emissions tests to mask the actual scale of harmful nitrogen oxide pollutants, which was significantly higher than the legal limit in the U.S. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 28 Nov. 2023 Police stopped the pursuit around 7:20 p.m. when the child left city limits via the M-14 bridge. Natalie Kainz, NBC News, 27 Nov. 2023 The featured vitamin C serum helps reduce oiliness and clear out pores, while the exfoliating serum limits sebum production and prevents future breakouts. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 26 Nov. 2023 Track tires are pushed to their limits, resulting in better products for the road. Tim Stevens, The Verge, 17 Nov. 2023
Instead, organizations must shift their focus toward understanding the changes in cybercriminal business models and use that information to prioritize investments most likely to limit their financial loss. Vishaal Hariprasad, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Negotiators are hoping to ratify the details of the loss and damage fund for poor countries, set new goals for reducing emissions and agree to better limit methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times as potent in the short term than carbon dioxide. David Gelles, New York Times, 30 Nov. 2023 Under the agency’s proposal, loungers and other infant support cushions must be as firm as a crib mattress, and the height of their walls is effectively limited to less than 2 inches. Suzy Khimm, NBC News, 30 Nov. 2023 Recent reports from the U.N. and independent groups have pointed to a major gap between countries’ promises on reducing emissions and scaling up clean energy, and what needs to happen to fulfill the Paris Agreement goals to limit warming to 1.5℃. Stephanie Ebbs, ABC News, 30 Nov. 2023 The professor recommended that those living in areas susceptible to slides take some precautions, such as limiting excess water seeping into the ground, checking for leaking pipes and reducing irrigation. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2023 So police brutality is not limited to the United States but at least the cop isn't suspended on full pay for two years. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 If the term is limited to physical health, is that intended to be restricted to emergent medical conditions? Michael R. Wickline,, 29 Nov. 2023 Particularly, the preferred proposal would sharply limit oil and gas development while heavily prioritizing wildlife conservation. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 29 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'limit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French limite, from Latin limit-, limes boundary

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of limit was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near limit

Cite this Entry

“Limit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
lim·​it ˈlim-ət How to pronounce limit (audio)
: a boundary line
within the city limits
: a point beyond which a person or thing cannot go
limitless adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to set limits to : keep within limits
limit expenses
management reserves the right to limit quantities
an adjective limits the meaning of a noun

More from Merriam-Webster on limit

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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