Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1. something such as a line on a map that marks where one area of land ends and another begins

2. the limits of an activity or experience

3. the outer edge of the playing area in cricket

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The noun boundary is formed from the noun ‘bound’ meaning limit and the suffix ‘-ary’. It was first used in the 17th century.


A boundary is a line on a map that marks the end of one area of land and the beginning of another. In British English, a boundary is also a physical object that marks the limits of an area, such as a fence or a wall. Figuratively, a boundary marks the limits of an activity or experience; in this meaning it is often modified by an adjective such as ‘religious’ or a noun such as ‘class’. As an extension of this meaning, a boundary is also an imaginary point that separates different qualities or ideas. In this sense it is often followed by the preposition ‘between’. If you say that something knows no boundaries, it has no real or imagined limits. In cricket the boundary is the outer edge of the playing area; a hit that sends the ball to the boundary without being stopped by a fielder earns the batsman four runs, while one that crosses this limit without touching the ground gains six runs. Boundary is also used to refer to four runs scored in this way, as in ‘She hit four boundaries and two sixes’.


The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
(Edgar Allan Poe)

I don’t see any boundaries between any of the art forms. I think they all inter-relate completely.
(David Bowie)

Related words

border, frontier, line, perimeter

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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