• synonyms


[awf-lim-its, of-]
See more synonyms for off-limits on Thesaurus.com
  1. forbidden to be patronized, frequented, used, etc., by certain persons: The tavern is off-limits to soldiers.
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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

Related Words

restricted, banned, illegal, barred, prohibited, forbidden, illicit, taboo, unlawful, verboten, outlawed, no-no

Examples from the Web for off-limits

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Those are complicated machines, those things, and they're off-limits to the likes of you and me.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • This section of the building was off-limits to the other patients in the Institute, but Stanton, the star border, had free rein.

    Anything You Can Do

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Commanders were frequently quizzed on the probable effects of the imposition of off-limits sanctions or base closings.

Word Origin and History for off-limits


"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper