Meaning of LIMIT in English

I. ˈlimə̇t, usu -ə̇d.+V noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English limite, from Middle French, from Latin limit-, limes boundary, limit — more at limb


a. : a geographical or political boundary : border , frontier

at the exact northern limit of this valley — American Guide Series: Minnesota

just outside the three-mile limit — Beverly Smith

— often used in plural

kept within the limits of Detroit — American Guide Series: Michigan

b. limits plural : the place or area enclosed within a boundary : bounds

into the limits of the North they came — John Milton

the first collegiate foundation in the limits of the present U.S. — K.B.Murdock


a. : something that bounds, restrains, or confines — usually used in plural

simple-minded because of the limits to his experience — Margaret F. Richey

discover the relationships of meanings within the limits of his form — W.V.O'Connor

cooperate within limits

b. : the utmost extent : a point beyond which it is impossible to go

pushed to the limit to meet these demands — R.E.Barnaby

a veteran operator who can be trusted to the limit — Tris Coffin

the sky's the limit

3. : limitation

the sadness is without limit — Shakespeare

her opportunity is practically without limit other than the limitation of her own ability — G.W.Johnson

4. : a determining feature or differentia in logic

5. : a prescribed maximum or minimum amount, quantity, or number

the store set a limit of five pounds of coffee to a customer during the sale

suggested lowering the age limit for voting from 21 to 18


a. : the maximum quantity of game or fish that may be taken legally in a specified period

so many ducks that limit bags are almost routine among competent hunters — Scott Young


(1) : a maximum established for a gambling bet, raise, or payoff

playing blackjack, two cents' limit — Hamilton Basso

(2) : an agreed time for ending a card game

set a limit of 1 a.m.


a. : a number such that the numerical difference between it and mathematical function will be arbitrarily small for all values of the independent variables sufficiently close to but not equal to certain prescribed numbers or sufficiently large positively or negatively

the limit of ( x 2 -1) ÷ ( x -1) as x approaches 1 is 2

b. : a number such that if Sn represents the nth term of an infinite sequence the numerical difference between Sn and the number will be arbitrarily small for n sufficiently large

the limit of the sequence 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, … n /( n +1) as n becomes large is 1

c. : either of the two numbers substituted in an antiderivative for the independent variable in evaluating a definite integral

7. : the maximum or minimum permissible dimension (as of a machine part or manufactured object)

the plungers and cylinders of the injection system are fitted to extremely close limits — William Landon

8. : something that is exasperating or intolerable : last straw — used with the

I've seen bad weather, but this is the limit

9. : the full duration of a ball game or prizefight — used with the

a good pitcher but he couldn't go the limit

although he went the limit he lost the fight on points

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English limiten, from Middle French limiter, from Latin limitare, from limit-, limes boundary, limit

1. : to assign to or within certain limits : fix, constitute, or appoint definitely : allot , prescribe

no end is limited to damned souls — Christopher Marlowe

— now used chiefly in legal terms

2. obsolete : to assign (a duty) to someone

'tis my limited service — Shakespeare


a. : to set bounds or limits to : confine

limits itself to fresh water — Richard Semon

must limit itself to functions which are consistent with the needs of collective defense — A.O.Wolfess

the town is pleasantly limited — William Sansom

persons whose musical experience is limited — Virgil Thomson

b. : to curtail or reduce in quantity or extent

could limit production and marketing of dairy products — Wall Street Journal

medical science knows how to limit these evils — C.W.Eliot

4. archaic : to be or act as a boundary to

a stone wall limits the farm on the west


restrict , circumscribe , confine : limit stresses the fact of existence of boundaries, checks to expansion, or exclusions which either are not passed over or cannot or may not be; it is a general term with less power of suggestion than others in this set

the airplane has possibilities so many that fancy cannot limit them — B.N.Cardozo

limiting the purposes for which public funds could be appropriated — Americana Annual

restrict may imply a narrow limitation, a more sharp and severe constriction or checking than limit

the decision to restrain French influence … and to restrict it to the frontiers of his own choosing — Hilaire Belloc

combinations have arisen which restrict the very freedom that Bentham sought to attain — O.W.Holmes †1935

circumscribe may suggest a bounding circle, often close and narrow, preventing free outward range or activity, in other words, an encompassing restriction

think that the emotional range … of drama is limited and circumscribed by verse — T.S.Eliot

the Government's … imposition of restrictions and quotas that have circumscribed the conduct of publishing so radically — Times Literary Supplement

confine is the strongest in this set in indicating bounds not to be passed; it suggests close cramping restriction, hindrance by encircling environment, or exclusion seemingly arbitrary or, at any rate, positive

strong congressional leaders have always sought to confine the President to mere administration — Alan Barth

must confine himself to inferior jobs allotted to his kind — Ruth Benedict

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.