statute of limitations

noun phrase

: a statute assigning a certain time after which rights cannot be enforced by legal action or offenses cannot be punished

Examples of statute of limitations in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Arkansas’ statute of limitations blocks debt collectors from suing over medical debt if more than two years have passed since the debt was incurred or the last payment was made. Casey Tolan, CNN, 8 Sep. 2023 The District Attorney’s Office said that man has confessed to the 1975 Greenburgh rape but cannot be prosecuted for it because the statute of limitations in place at the time has expired. Jonathan Bandler, USA TODAY, 6 Sep. 2023 The statute of limitations has expired in those cases, preventing authorities from pursuing criminal charges. Shelley Murphy,, 30 Aug. 2023 But the prosecutors could not charge him for those votes in, in those two elections because the statute of limitations had already passed. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 23 Aug. 2023 An appellate court ruling on Johnson’s second motion to dismiss the case dropped two of the counts against him because of the statute of limitations but said the rest of the charges could proceed to trial. Amy Lavalley, Chicago Tribune, 15 Aug. 2023 More than 500 civil lawsuits alleging abuse were filed against the Catholic archdiocese between 2020 and 2022, when California temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on such allegations against churches and other institutions. oregonlive, 6 Aug. 2023 In court documents filed over the past two years, Thermo Fisher disputed the family’s statute of limitations argument. Angela Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 6 Aug. 2023 The men's lawsuits had already bounced back from a 2017 dismissal when Young threw them out for being beyond the statute of limitations. Andrew Dalton, USA TODAY, 20 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of statute of limitations was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near statute of limitations

Cite this Entry

“Statute of limitations.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Legal Definition

statute of limitations

: a statute establishing a period of time from the accrual of a cause of action (as upon the occurrence or discovery of an injury) within which a right of action must be exercised compare laches, statute of repose
: a criminal statute establishing the period of time within which an offense can be punished after its commission
: a period of time established by a statute of limitations for commencing an action or prosecution
: an affirmative defense that the statute of limitations has expired

More from Merriam-Webster on statute of limitations

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