1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Analysts also caution that there are historical limits to how large a social movement can grow when the matter at hand is not taking place in the United States or directly involves American troops. Tim Craig, Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2024 Federal officials have discovered damage inside Glen Canyon Dam that could force limits on how much Colorado River water is released at low reservoir levels, raising risks the Southwest could face shortages that were previously unforeseen. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2024 Later in his blog post, Smith does go on to say that government intervention, in the form of a tax on AI or by setting limits on the amount of energy AI systems can use, could be required to ensure that humans can earn enough to survive if AI can outperform them at any task. Will Henshall, TIME, 16 Apr. 2024 The only drive-in theater left inside Indianapolis' city limits has four screens and a reputation for friendly staff with good movie recommendations. The Indianapolis Star, 15 Apr. 2024 Christopher Melcher, a lawyer in California who specializes in family law and who is not involved in any legal matters related to Mr. Simpson, said that there were limits to how much of someone’s wages could be garnished in such a judgment. Anna Betts, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 As the undisputed leaders in the field, Washington and Beijing are best equipped to set an example by putting limits on military uses of drone swarms. Frank Bajak, Quartz, 12 Apr. 2024 That process could take up to three years, and cannot set a limit any higher than what the EPA established. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 12 Apr. 2024 The agency set health advisory limits for PFAS but had no power to enforce those limits. Claire Bugos, Verywell Health, 12 Apr. 2024
However expansive or limited your perspective, and however expansive or limited O’Brien’s perspective, Conan O’Brien Must Go is a very silly and occasionally illuminating series that’s still finding its rhythms and its comic voice as the fourth episode concludes. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Apr. 2024 Customers will be limited to five items or less at Dollar General locations with self-checkout kiosks. Amaris Encinas, USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2024 Advertisement He has been limited in practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2024 The Biden administration is enlisting the help of officials in 15 states to enforce consumer-protection laws covering airline travelers, a power that by law is limited to the federal government. David Koenig, Fortune, 17 Apr. 2024 Fernandez emphasized that the audit was limited to Amazon purchases. Tess Riski, Miami Herald, 17 Apr. 2024 Participation is limited to households with incomes less than 60 percent of the median state income, or $54,678 for a three-person household. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 16 Apr. 2024 Often, success is limited by having poor options, not by poor choices. Lisa Vernon Sparks, Charlotte Observer, 16 Apr. 2024 In a paper in March, the EU said Europe will be 3 degrees celsius hotter even if the world succeeds in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels, causing trillions of euros of damage to the economy. Ewa Krukowska, Fortune Europe, 5 Apr. 2024

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 23 Apr. 2024.

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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!