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

Still, the company gets about 85% of revenue from ads, so any limits on its ability to use data for marketing are a threat to its business. Los Angeles Times, "Google and other tech firms seek to weaken landmark California data-privacy law," 4 Sep. 2019 In an earlier influential paper, written in 1974, Dr. Weitzman questioned the conventional view among economists that taxing pollutants was a more effective way to curb them than setting limits on how much pollution could be generated. Sam Roberts,, "Martin Weitzman, virtuoso climate change economist, dies at 77," 4 Sep. 2019 The Christchurch Call has also helped widen the discussion about cyber peace to include thorny questions about democracy, such as how to balance freedom of speech with limits on extremist content. Scott Shackelford, The Conversation, "In a world of cyber threats, the push for cyber peace is growing," 3 Sep. 2019 In response, Iran has surpassed limits on nuclear enrichment set out in the accord in a bid to pressure Europe to find a way around the U.S. sanctions. Washington Post, "Iran warns of ‘strong step’ from atomic deal if no new terms," 3 Sep. 2019 Firearm magazines are not regulated by federal law, but some states have set limits on their sizes. Martha Bellisle, The Denver Post, "High-capacity magazines get new scrutiny as Congress returns," 2 Sep. 2019 Resistance to limits on deforestation are even greater than that of Minnesota’s farmers to a very mild rule on nitrates in groundwater. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Global economics play out in Brazil," 1 Sep. 2019 Wenxin Du of the University of Chicago suggested that the premium could also reflect limits on global banks’ ability to lend in dollars, and that tighter Fed policy could exacerbate those constraints. The Economist, "A meeting of economists and central bankers was overshadowed by President Donald Trump," 29 Aug. 2019 In the short term, researchers say the best chance to measure the actual statistical properties of the EOR—as opposed to placing limits on them—probably rests with another effort called the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA). Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The Quest to Unlock the Secrets of the Baby Universe," 26 Aug. 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

8 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

What made you want to look up limit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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