1. That which terminates, circumscribes, restrains, or confines; the bound, border, or edge; the utmost extent; as, the limit of a walk, of a town, of a country; the limits of human knowledge or endeavor. "As eager of the chase, the maid Beyond the forest's verdant limits strayed." (Pope)

2. The space or thing defined by limits. "The archdeacon hath divided it Into three limits very equally." (Shak)

3. That which terminates a period of time; hence, the period itself; the full time or extent. "The dateless limit of thy dear exile." (Shak) "The limit of your lives is out." (Shak)

4. A restriction; a check; a curb; a hindrance. "I prithee, give no limits to my tongue." (Shak)

5. <logic> A determining feature; a distinguishing characteristic a differentia.

6. <mathematics> A determinate quantity, to which a variable one continually approaches, and may differ from it by less than any given difference, but to which, under the law of variation, the variable can never become exactly equivalent. Elastic limit. See Elastic. Prison limits, a definite, extent of space in or around a prison, within which a prisoner has liberty to go and come.

Synonyms: Boundary, border, edge, termination, restriction, bound, confine.

Origin: From L. Limes, limitis: cf. F.limite; -or from E. Limit, v. See Limit.

To apply a limit to, or set a limit for; to terminate, circumscribe, or restrict, by a limit or limits; as, to limit the acreage of a crop; to limit the issue of paper money; to limit one's ambitions or aspirations; to limit the meaning of a word.

<astronomy> Limiting parallels, those parallels of latitude between which only an occultation of a star or planet by the moon, in a given case, can occur.

Origin: F. Limiter, L. Limitare, fr. Limes, limitis, limit; prob. Akin to limen threshold, E. Eliminate; cf. L. Limus sidelong.

(01 Mar 1998)

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