Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

limit - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     limit pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelimiting
past tenselimited
past participlelimited
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to prevent a number, amount, or effect from increasing past a particular point

    The hospital limits the number of visitors a patient can have.

    The residentsmain demand is to limit the amount of heavy traffic using the street.

    limit something to something:

    The school board has pledged to limit classes to a maximum of twenty-five students.

  2. 2
    to reduce or control someone’s freedom to do what they want or someone’s ability to be effective
    limit someone to something:

    The regulations limit each committee to recommendations rather than allowing it to take action.

    limit someone to something:

    Most people limit themselves to a few techniques that work best for them.

    be limited by something:

    They were limited by the amount of money they could spend on the production.

  3. 3
    [usually passive] if something is limited to a particular place or group, it happens only in that place or within that group
    be limited to:

    NATO officials said that the air strikes were limited to military targets.

Open Dictionary


a rise in the level of a stream or river

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play