Definition of limit noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlɪmɪt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɪmɪt//
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  1. 1  limit (to something) a point at which something 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 somebody/something to the limit His arrogance knew (= had) no limits.
  2. 2  limit (on something) the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed synonym 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). to keep government spending within acceptable limits Synonymslimitrestriction control constraint restraint limitationThese are all words for something that limits what you can do or what can happen.limit the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed:The EU has set strict limits on pollution levels. the speed limitrestriction (rather formal) a rule or law that limits what you can do:There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can withdraw.control (often in compounds) the act of limiting or managing something; a method of doing this:arms controlconstraint (rather formal) a fact or decision that limits what you can do:We have to work within severe constraints of time and money.restraint (rather formal) a decision, a rule, an idea, etc. that limits what you can do; the act of limiting something 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.limitation the act or process of limiting something; a rule, fact or condition that limits something: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 somebody in authority. A constraint is something that exists rather than something that is made, although it may exist as a result of somebody’s decision. A restraint is also something that exists: it can exist outside yourself, as the result of somebody 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 somebody makes or a fact or condition that exists.Patterns limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations on something limits/​limitations to something severe limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations tight limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints to impose/​remove limits/​restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints/​limitations to lift restrictions/​controls/​constraints/​restraints
  3. 3the 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
  4. Word Originlate Middle English: from Latin limes, limit- ‘boundary, frontier’. The verb is from Latin limitare, from limes.Extra examples Banks may import currency without limit. Central government has set a limit on spending by local councils. Establish clear limits, but keep rules to a minimum. Fishing beyond the twelve-mile limit is not permitted. Four cups of coffee is my daily limit. He’d been drinking and was well over the legal limit. Heat levels rose beyond the recommended limits. I can offer you $50 but that’s my absolute limit. I don’t want to go over my overdraft limit. I was almost at the limits of my patience. Most credit card issuers have set limits on how low rates can go. She explained it was her room and it was off limits. She must have broken every speed limit in Los Angeles getting here. She pushed me to the limit of my abilities. She wants Zack to be free to explore his limits, experiment and try new things. The application must be made within a strict time limit. The building is off limits to the public. The children can do what they like, within limits. The engine was still reading well above normal limits. The industry was approaching the limits of expansion. The level of radioactivity in the soil was found to be above recommended limits. The new law has its limits. The posted speed limit is 35 mph. The price fell below the lower limit. The same emission limits apply to all engines. The temperature is within safe operating limits. The trees are found only below a limit of 1 500 feet. The vessel is operating at the extreme limits of the acceptable ranges. Their designers have pushed the limits of technology in order to create something new. There was no school within a limit of ten miles. There’s a limit on the number of tickets you can buy. There’s a limit to what we can do to help. There’s a practical limit to how small a portable computer can be. There’s a strict time limit enforced by a penalty. There’s a weight limit on the bridge. They did well within the limits of their knowledge. They recognize the limits of their conventional strategies. This led them to reduce the upper age limit from age 65 to age 59. We are forced to operate within relatively narrow limits. We want to respect the limits that our elders have imposed on us. You can buy cigarettes up to a limit of 200 per person. You were exceeding the speed limit. a few miles outside of the city limits a lifetime limit of five years for welfare support islands on the outer limit of the continent lonely stretch of highway outside the city limits term limits for members of Congress the EU’s arbitrary limits on fiscal policy the IRS contribution limits the exposure limits to this group of chemicals the idea that the planet has finite limits the inherent limits of the hardware the narrow limits defined by the emperor the theoretical limits of human knowledge He admitted that he had broken the speed limit. His arrogance knew no limits. It is our job to keep government spending within acceptable limits. Let us wonder what stops at the limits of the universe. Our finances have been stretched to the limit. The EU has set strict limits on pollution levels. The managers’ skills and expertise were being tested to the limits. There is no limit to what we can achieve. They were travelling at a speed that was double the legal limit. You can’t drive—you’re over the limit.Idioms (old-fashioned, informal) to be extremely annoying See related entries: Describing annoying traits (informal) there is no limit to what somebody can achieve, earn, do, etc. With a talent like his, the sky's the limit. to some extent; with some restrictions I'm willing to help, within limits.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: limit