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1. The point, edge, or line beyond which something ends, may not go, or is not allowed: the 12-mile fishing limit; the limit of my patience.
2. limits The boundary surrounding a specific area; bounds: within the city limits.
3. Something that restricts or restrains; a restraint: The child needs to have limits put on his behavior.
4. The greatest or least amount, number, or extent allowed or possible: a withdrawal limit of $200; no minimum age limit.
5. Games The largest amount which may be bet at one time in games of chance.
6. Abbr. lim Mathematics
a. A number or point L that is approached by a function f(x) as x approaches a if, for every positive number ε, there exists a number δ such that │f(x)-L│ < ε if │x-a│ < δ.
b. A number or point L that is approached by a sequence bn if, for every positive number ε, there exists a number N such that │bn-L│ < ε if n > N. Also called limit point.
7. Informal One that is intolerable, remarkable, or extreme in some other way: "That's the limit!" the babysitter exclaimed after the child spilled a glass of milk.
tr.v. lim·it·ed, lim·it·ing, lim·its
To confine or restrict with a limit: Let's limit the discussion to what is doable. The offer limits us to three for a dollar.

[Middle English limite, from Old French, border, from Latin līmes, līmit-, border, limit.]

lim′it·a·ble adj.
Synonyms: limit, restrict, confine, circumscribe
These verbs mean to establish or keep within specified bounds. Limit refers principally to the establishment of a maximum beyond which a person or thing cannot or may not go: The Constitution limits the president's term of office to four years. To restrict is to keep within prescribed limits, as of choice or action: The sale of alcohol is restricted to people who are 21 and older. Confine suggests imprisonment, restraint, or impediment: The children were confined to the nursery. Circumscribe connotes an encircling or surrounding line that confines, especially narrowly: "A man ... should not circumscribe his activity by any inflexible fence of rigid rules" (John Stuart Blackie).


  • determiner - A word that limits or indicates the scope of a noun.
  • modifier, qualifier - A word or phrase that limits or qualifies the sense of another is a modifier or qualifier.
  • temper - Originally a proportionate mixture, is from Latin temperare, "to mix correctly; regulate" or "to keep within limits."
References in classic literature ?
The error which limits republican government to a narrow district has been unfolded and refuted in preceding papers.
Thus also there are no limits to the art of medicine, with respect to the health which it attempts to procure; the same also is true of all other arts; no line can be drawn to terminate their bounds, the several professors of them being desirous to extend them as far as possible.
They differ, again, in their length: for Tragedy endeavours, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit; whereas the Epic action has no limits of time.
It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.
Thirdly and Lastly): That Characters which may not have appeared, and Events which may not have taken place, within the limits of our own individual experience, may nevertheless be perfectly natural Characters and perfectly probable Events, for all that.
In point of fact, the country which is the scene of the following tale has undergone as little change, since the historical events alluded to had place, as almost any other district of equal extent within the whole limits of the United States.
It must evidently be, then, a gun of great range, since the length of the piece will increase the detention of the gas accumulated behind the projectile; but there is no advantage in passing certain limits.
I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind's range and hospitality.
If the process be a fact; if things have BECOME what they are, then, he contends, we may describe no limit to man's aspirations.
This was the extreme southern limit reached by that daring traveller.
The limit of some of the great prophets has been a hundred years.
Because," said the Man Leaning on a Spade, "I belong to the Gravediggers' National Extortion Society, and we have decided to limit the production of graves and get more money for the reduced output.