Definition of limit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlimit/


1A point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass: the limits of presidential power the 10-minute limit on speeches there was no limit to his imagination
More example sentences
  • Power management software can orchestrate the graceful shutdown of critical systems when power outages extend beyond the limits of backup systems.
  • No concept can allow us to rise so far: yet the aesthetic experience, which involves a perpetual striving to pass beyond the limits of our point of view, seems to embody what cannot be thought.
  • These issues are moving the limits of storage from its technological limit to its practical limit.
1.1 (often limits) The terminal point or boundary of an area or movement: the city limits the upper limit of the tidal reaches
More example sentences
  • At the extreme tidal limits in wet areas, organic production may exceed sediment supply and peaty organic sediments may then accumulate.
  • Taking a city tram from Basel as far as its terminus at the city limits, I followed the road on foot.
  • Justice Morin held that the City had the authority, pursuant to the provisions of the Municipal Act, to designate any area within the City limits as an area where smoking is prohibited.
boundary, border, bound, frontier, edge, demarcation line;
perimeter, outside, confine, periphery, margin, rim
1.2The furthest extent of one’s physical or mental endurance: Mary Ann tried everyone’s patience to the limit other horses were reaching their limit
More example sentences
  • It was a while before the children realized that these two marines, laden with arms to the limit of physical endurance, were not going to hurt them.
  • It could take them six weeks to complete, will see them race over almost 4000 nautical miles and push their mental and physical abilities to the limit.
  • As an 18-year-old, they take you to the limit of your endurance.
utmost, breaking point, greatest extent
one's/the breaking point, the last straw
informal the end, it, one's wits' end, one's/the max
2A restriction on the size or amount of something permissible or possible: an age limit a weight limit
More example sentences
  • ‘We have not put any restrictions on the age limit,’ says V.K. Jayan, of Terracrafts, who leads the workshop.
  • Two more conventional measures, species-specific size restrictions and catch limits, appear in only a small number of fishing accords.
  • Restrictions enacted under previous state legislation impose limits on the amount districts can increase their budgets.
maximum, ceiling, limitation, upper limit;
restriction, check, control, restraint
2.1A speed limit: a 30 mph limit
More example sentences
  • Speed limits on high-speed roads, and the actual extreme percentile speeds, have generally decreased.
  • The old man in a white Cadillac was driving down the road ten mph under the limit with his left turn signal on while on a cell phone!
  • After our country's previous success with speed limit reductions to 55 mph, a lower limit should be even more attractive to the public.
2.2(In card games) an agreed maximum stake or bet.
2.3 (also legal limit) The maximum concentration of alcohol in the blood that the law allows in the driver of a motor vehicle: the risk of drinkers inadvertently going over the limit
More example sentences
  • Why would it not include someone who has a blood alcohol content above the limit for driving a motor vehicle?
  • into whether the current blood alcohol limit for driving should be lowered from 80 mg per 100 ml to 50 mg.
  • In Bulgaria the blood alcohol limit for motorists is 0.05, that is, 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.
3 Mathematics A point or value that a sequence, function, or sum of a series can be made to approach progressively, until it is as close to the point or value as desired.
Example sentences
  • In fact, the sequence converges to a limit whose value is 2.7182818.
  • We begin in section 2 with two simple examples to show that the pointwise limit of a sequence of analytic functions need not be analytic.
  • Around this time he discovered conditions under which a function is a limit of a sequence of continuous functions.

verb (limits, limiting, limited)

[with object]
Set or serve as a limit to: try to limit the amount you drink class sizes are limited to a maximum of 10 (as adjective limiting) a limiting factor
More example sentences
  • New government regulations limiting the sort of DIY work that amateurs can carry out.
  • Another major factor limiting the Europeans' performances has to be the heat and humidity.
  • This year it has gone further, limiting the amount of time they can spend covering for absent colleagues.
restrict, curb, cap, check, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, freeze, regulate, control, govern, delimit



be the limit

informal Be intolerably troublesome or irritating.
Example sentences
  • Generally I don't have much fear of clambering over things and taking risks but this was the limit.

off limits

Out of bounds: they declared the site off limits
More example sentences
  • Perhaps we should have dug deeper because it's quite apparent now that the whole topic was off limits.
  • Up to recently these waters were off limits to Western travelers.
  • Anything to the right of yellow is strictly off limits.
out of bounds, forbidden, banned, restricted, unacceptable, taboo
2.1Not to be mentioned or discussed: it was apparent that the whole topic was off limits
More example sentences
  • Methodology in turn falls under the gaze of epistemology, the investigation of investigation itself - nothing is off limits to scientific questioning.
  • I honestly don't know why this argument is off limits.
  • You may remember that he did a Today interview with John Humphreys in which Iraq was off limits.

within limits

Moderately; up to a point.
Example sentences
  • The reason farming needs protection is also the reason we can, within limits, have the sort of farming we want: our post-agricultural economy makes us rich enough to afford it.
  • My first boss, Roger, reckoned that the key to world progress and prosperity lay in an informed and, within limits, tolerant appreciation of cultural differences.
  • What counts in analogical comparison is, within limits, inherently contestable.

without limit

With no restriction.
Example sentences
  • In seventeen cases the disposal was as it would have been prior to the passage of the 1991 Act, a restriction order without limit of time.
  • She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.
  • Lastly, it settles for a method which is an extension of Islamic metaphysics by stating that ‘knowledge is limitless because the objects of knowledge are without limit.’



Pronunciation: /ˈliməˌtādiv/
Example sentences
  • Turing and Godel, and the complexity theorists who have followed, have made fundamental limitative theorems a fact of mathematical life.
  • They suggest that redundancy is not merely a ‘limitative condition’, but is key to the transmission of the message itself.


Late Middle English: from Latin limes, limit- 'boundary, frontier'. The verb is from Latin limitare, from limes.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lim·it

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