lim·​it | \ ˈli-mət How to pronounce limit (audio) \

Definition of limit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that bounds, restrains, or confines the age limit for junior golf
b : the utmost extent pushed her body to the limit
2a : a geographic or political boundary
b limits plural : the place enclosed within a boundary : bounds into the limits of the North they came— John Milton
3 : limitation the sadness is without limit— William Shakespeare
4 : a determining feature or differentia in logic
5 : a prescribed maximum or minimum amount, quantity, or number: such as
a : the maximum quantity of game or fish that may be taken legally in a specified period
b : a maximum established for a gambling bet, raise, or payoff
6a : 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
b : 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
7 : something that is exasperating or intolerable We've had bad weather, but this is the limit.


limited; limiting; limits

Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to assign certain limits to : prescribe reserved the right to limit use of the land
2a : to restrict the bounds or limits of the specialist can no longer limit himself to his specialty
b : to curtail or reduce in quantity or extent we must limit the power of aggressors

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Other Words from limit


limitless \ ˈli-​mət-​ləs How to pronounce limitless (audio) \ adjective
limitlessly adverb
limitlessness noun


limitable \ ˈli-​mə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce limitable (audio) \ adjective
limiter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for limit

Synonyms: Noun

bound, boundary, cap, ceiling, confines, end, extent, limitation, line, termination

Synonyms: Verb

cap, circumscribe, confine, hold down, restrict

Antonyms: Verb


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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


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!


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Environmental Protection Agency has been considering setting nationwide limits. Washington Post, "To the EPA, ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are a Big Problem Now," 18 Sep. 2019 The state's authority was granted by a waiver that allows it to set pollution limits that are stricter than the federal government's, which is now threatening the administration's ability to roll back Obama-era standards for automobile fuel economy. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Trump to eliminate California’s car emission standards waiver," 17 Sep. 2019 Things could become as outside-the-box as lake-by-lake catch limits, Alofs said. Keith Matheny,, "Climate change transforming where fish in the Great Lakes region live," 16 Sep. 2019 There will be two zones, both running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. One will have two hours limits for visitors, plus unlimited residential parking. Sharon Coolidge,, "West End to city: Once FCC stadium built, where will residents park?," 16 Sep. 2019 During the summer, despite long offshore forays, crews failed to find much crab and fell far short of harvest limits. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 15 Sep. 2019 Seasons and limits The Minnesota northern zone waterfowl season for ducks and geese starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 21. John Myers, Twin Cities, "Outlook for Minnesota duck season: pretty good," 15 Sep. 2019 The toilet was to be open for public use during a seven-week exhibition, from Sept. 12 to Oct. 27, but with a three-minute time limit to reduce long lines, the Evening Standard said. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Loo on the loose! Burglars steal 18-karat golden toilet on display at UK palace," 14 Sep. 2019 The current requests include: Relaxing the dinghy tie-up limit from 20 minutes to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the same as the beach access hours. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "County seeks after-the-fact permission for Harbor Patrol changes to dock and beach access in Newport," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Decades ago, when film reigned supreme and single-screen theaters were more prominent, a massive runtime could limit the amount of times a movie could be shown a day, hurting a studio's ultimate bottom line. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Rise of the Super Sequel! As ‘It: Chapter Two’ Hits Theaters, Why Are Blockbusters Getting So Long?," 6 Sep. 2019 The City of Cincinnati said that the weekend work should help limit traffic disruptions during the week. Madeline Mitchell,, "Downtown Cincinnati traffic: Race and W. 15th streets closed through next week," 6 Sep. 2019 The compromise was hailed as a way to protect renters from egregious increases while easing some concerns from landlords and property owners about limiting returns on their investments. Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, "California rent cap measure could have limited impact," 5 Sep. 2019 Over the last few years, the company has stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015, then raised the age to purchase guns to 21, and will now limit ammunition and handgun sales. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Political Overreaction to Walmart’s P.R. Strategy," 5 Sep. 2019 While Netflix CEO Reed Hastings once famously boasted that his service’s true competition is sleep, time is finite for all and money limited for most. Washington Post, "Fall brings new shows, services and chance of bigger TV tabs," 5 Sep. 2019 Wilner writes this is having an impact on the number of major college football prospects inside the Pac-12 footprint, which limits the conference’s recruiting pool. oregonlive, "The Pac-12′s playoff chances can be summed up in three words ... slim and none: Issues & Answers," 4 Sep. 2019 The new rules, forcing more input from the minority party and limiting how counties and in some cases cities can be split, will be put in place for the next set of maps that will be used beginning in 2022. Rich Exner,, "What anti-gerrymandering court win in North Carolina means for Ohio," 4 Sep. 2019 Nagy said limiting Nichols was precautionary because the Bears were practicing indoors/ on turf. Colleen Kane,, "Trey Burton could be a ‘game-time decision’ for the Bears after another limited practice," 3 Sep. 2019

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


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for limit

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for limit

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for limit

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

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More Definitions for limit



English Language Learners Definition of limit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a point beyond which it is not possible to go
: a point beyond which someone is not allowed to go
: an amount or number that is the highest or lowest allowed



English Language Learners Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stop or prevent an increase in (something) : to keep (something) from becoming greater
: to prevent (something) from being larger, longer, more, etc. : to place a limit on the size or extent of (something)
: to stop (someone) from having or doing more : to place a limit on (someone)


lim·​it | \ ˈli-mət How to pronounce limit (audio) \

Kids Definition of limit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a point beyond which it is impossible to go She runs often, but she knows her limits.
2 : an amount or number that is the lowest or highest allowed After I spent my limit, I went home.
3 : a boundary line the city limits


limited; limiting

Kids Definition of limit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to place a control on the size or extent of something I need to limit expenses.

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More from Merriam-Webster on limit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for limit

Spanish Central: Translation of limit

Nglish: Translation of limit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of limit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about limit

Comments on limit

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to spread over or through

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