off-limits

[awf-lim-its, of-]
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Origin of off-limits

An Americanism dating back to 1950–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


British Dictionary definitions for off limits

off limits

adjective (off-limits when prenominal)
  1. not to be entered; out of bounds
adverb
  1. in or into an area forbidden by regulations
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for off limits

off-limits

adj.

"forbidden," by 1881, U.S. military academies jargon, from off (adv.) + limit (n.). Earlier (1857) it was applied to cadets, etc., who were in violation of the limitations on their movement and behavior.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper