• limit / delimit

      The verbs limit and delimit are similar in meaning but not quite synonymous. To limit requires a human agent to apply a limit to, or set a limit for, something. Limit is often used with the prepositions to or by.

      I will limit my searches by keywords. Searches were limited to certain journals.

      Delimit means demarcate or bound, and does not require a human agent in the same way that limit does. Delimited is followed by by, but not to.

      The nature area is delimited by a river on the north side and a farm on the east side.

      In a phrase like ‘tab-delimited data’, the tabs are just a marker of the values; the tabs themselves don’t play a role in the meaning of the values, nor in how those values came to be divided. Something that was called ‘tab-limited data’ would mean data that the tabs themselves had somehow imposed an order on.