/ ˈlɪmɪt; NAmE / noun , verb
limit (to sth) a point at which sth stops being possible or existing :
There is a limit to the amount of pain we can bear.
The team performed to the limit of its capabilities.
She knew the limits of her power.
to push / stretch / test sb/sth to the limit
His arrogance knew (= had) no limits .
limit (on sth) the greatest or smallest amount of sth that is allowed
SYN restriction :
a time / speed / age limit
The EU has set strict limits on levels of pollution.
They were travelling at a speed that was double the legal limit .
You can't drive—you're over the limit (= you have drunk more alcohol than is legal when driving) .
the furthest edge of an area or a place :
We were reaching the limits of civilization.
the city limits (= the imaginary line which officially divides the city from the area outside)
—see also off-limits
- be the limit
- within limits
—more at sky
■ verb [ vn ]
limit sth (to sth) to stop sth from increasing beyond a particular amount or level
SYN restrict :
measures to limit carbon dioxide emissions from cars
The amount of money you have to spend will limit your choice.
limit yourself / sb (to sth) to restrict or reduce the amount of sth that you or sb can have or use :
Families are limited to four free tickets each.
I've limited myself to 1 000 calories a day to try and lose weight.
- limit sth to sb/sth
restriction ♦ control ♦ constraint ♦ restraint ♦ limitation
These are all words for sth that limits what you can do or what can happen.
the greatest or smallest amount of sth that is allowed:
The EU has set strict limits on pollution levels.
the speed limit
( rather formal ) a rule or law that limits what you can do:
There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can withdraw.
(often in compounds) the act of limiting or managing sth; a method of doing this:
( rather formal ) a fact or decision that limits what you can do:
We have to work within severe constraints of time and money.
( rather formal ) a decision, a rule, an idea, etc. that limits what you can do; the act of limiting sth because it is necessary or sensible to do so:
The government has imposed export restraints on some products.
The unions are unlikely to accept any sort of wage restraint.
the act or process of limiting sth; a rule, fact or condition that limits sth:
They would resist any limitation of their powers.
restriction, constraint, restraint or limitation?
These are all things that limit what you can do. A restriction is rule or law that is made by sb in authority. A constraint is sth that exists rather than sth that is made, although it may exist as a result of sb's decision. A restraint is also sth that exists: it can exist outside yourself, as the result of sb else's decision; but it can also exist inside you, as a fear of what other people may think or as your own feeling about what is acceptable:
moral / social / cultural restraints.
A limitation is more general and can be a rule that sb makes or a fact or condition that exists.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :
limits / restrictions / controls / constraints / restraints / limitations on sth
limits / limitations to sth
tight / severe limits / restrictions / controls / constraints / restraints / limitations
economic / legal / spending limits / restrictions / controls / constraints / restraints / limitations
pay / wage limits / restrictions / controls / constraints / restraints
moral limits / restrictions / constraints / restraints / limitations
to impose / remove / lift limits / restrictions / controls / constraints / restraints / limitations
late Middle English : from Latin limes , limit- boundary, frontier. The verb is from Latin limitare , from limes .