Meaning of LIMIT in English

I. lim ‧ it 1 S2 W2 /ˈlɪmət, ˈlɪmɪt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ limit , ↑ limitation , ↑ delimitation ; adjective : ↑ limited ≠ ↑ unlimited , ↑ limiting , ↑ limitless ; verb : ↑ limit , ↑ delimit ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: French ; Origin: limite , from Latin limes 'edge, boundary' ]

1 . GREATEST/LEAST ALLOWED the greatest or least amount, number, speed etc that is allowed:

a 55 mph speed limit

limit for

There’s no age limit for applicants.

limit to/on

My wife and I set a limit on how much we spend on clothes.

above/over/below a limit

Pesticide levels in drinking water are already above legal limits in many areas.

2 . GREATEST AMOUNT POSSIBLE ( also limits ) the greatest possible amount of something that can exist or be obtained

limit of

the limits of human knowledge

He’d reached the limit of his patience.

Our finances are already stretched to the limit (=we do not have any extra money) .

There’s no limit to what you can do if you try.

3 . PLACE ( also limits ) the furthest point or edge of a place, often one that must not be passed:

He had not been outside the limits of the prison walls for 20 years.

The public is not allowed within a 2-mile limit of the missile site.

Los Angeles city limits

4 . off limits

a) beyond the area where someone is allowed to go:

That area of beach was off limits to us ‘city kids’.

b) beyond what you are allowed to do or have:

His private life is off limits to the press.

5 . within limits within the time, level, amount etc considered acceptable:

You can come and go when you want – within limits.

6 . be over the limit to have drunk more alcohol than is legal or safe for driving

7 . know your limits informal to know what you are good at doing and what you are not good at:

I know my limits. I’m not an administrator.

8 . have your limits spoken to have a set of rules about what is reasonable behaviour, and to not accept behaviour that does not follow these rules:

I have my limits. You will not use that kind of nasty language in class.

• • •


■ verbs

▪ set a limit ( also impose a limit formal )

Set a time limit for the completion of the task.

▪ put a limit on something

We have to put a limit on the number of participants.

▪ exceed a limit (=go beyond a limit)

He reported a driver for exceeding the speed limit.

▪ go over a limit (=go beyond a limit)

Borrowers who go over the spending limit set by the credit card company are penalised.


▪ an upper/lower limit (=the highest/lowest amount allowed)

There is no upper limit on the amount you can borrow.


Ensure the temperature in the aquarium does not fall below the lower limit.

▪ a strict limit

There are strict limits on spending.

▪ a legal limit (=a limit set by law)

The alcohol in his blood was four times more than the legal limit.

▪ the speed limit

Too many people go over the speed limit in residential areas.

▪ a time limit

The time limit for making a claim is three months.

▪ an age limit

The lower age limit for entering the Royal Marines is sixteen.

▪ a weight/height limit

The weight limit per bag is 20 kilos.

▪ spending limits

There are strict spending limits imposed by law on all candidates.

▪ term limits American English (=limits on how much time a politician can spend in office)

Should Senators be subject to term limits?

• • •


▪ limit the highest number, speed, temperature etc that is allowed by a law or rule:

He borrowed money up to the limit that the bank allowed.


The speed limit is 65 m.p.h.


There’s no limit on the amount of money that may be brought into the US.


Pollution levels are over the official limit.


Some families set limits on how much they spend on each other’s Christmas present.

▪ restrictions rules or laws that strictly control what you are allowed to do:

Travel restrictions might reduce the spread of the disease.


Unions are pressing for restrictions on steel imports from Japan.


Because of restrictions on reporting, newspapers were not allowed to cover the story.


New restrictions have been imposed on immigration.

▪ limitations limits on what a person or thing is able to do – used especially when you would like to be able to do more:

The president was unwilling to accept limitations on his power.


the limitations of the computer system


Hikers should know their physical limitations and not take unnecessary risks.

▪ constraints facts or conditions that limit what you can do, for example not having enough time, money etc:

Financial constraints are forcing many people in their twenties to live with their parents.


The last part of the show had to be cut because of time constraints.


The constraints of prison life are sometimes too much for people to bear.

▪ maximum the largest number or amount that is possible, normal, or allowed:

Classes have a maximum of twenty students.


What’s the maximum you can earn before you have to pay tax?

▪ minimum the smallest number or amount that is possible or allowed:

He was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison.


Our aim is to reduce the number of accidents to an absolute minimum.

▪ ceiling the largest number or amount of something that is officially allowed:

There is a ceiling on the amount of foreign investment.


Import quotas may rise from the present ceiling of 18.5 million to 20 million.


Congress was once again considering raising the federal debt ceiling.

II. limit 2 S3 W2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ limit , ↑ limitation , ↑ delimitation ; adjective : ↑ limited ≠ ↑ unlimited , ↑ limiting , ↑ limitless ; verb : ↑ limit , ↑ delimit ]

1 . [transitive] to stop an amount or number from increasing beyond a particular point:

a decision to limit imports of foreign cars

limit something to something

Seating is limited to 500.

2 . [transitive] to stop someone from doing what they want or from developing and improving beyond a particular point:

A lack of formal education will limit your job opportunities.

limit yourself to something

I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day.

3 . be limited to something to exist or happen only in a particular place, group, or area of activity:

The damage was limited to the roof.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.