"circumscribed within definite limits," c. 1600, past-participle adjective from limit (v.). The word was used earlier in a now-obsolete sense "appointed, fixed" (1550s). Limited edition is from 1869; limited monarchy from 1640s; limited war is from 1947. As a noun in railroading, 1878, short for limited express train (1875). In British company names, Limited (abbrev. Ltd.), 1855, is short for limited company, one formed under a law limiting the liability of the members for debts or obligations incurred by the company to a specific amount, usually the amount of their capital investment.