Time limit

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For other uses, see Time limit (disambiguation).

A time limit or deadline is a narrow field of time, or particular point in time, by which an objective or task must be accomplished. Once that time has passed, the item is overdue.

In project management, deadlines are most often associated with milestone goals.

Origination of the term deadline in a time limit[edit]

The term deadline originated from prison camps during war, and referred to a physical line or boundary.[1] Guards would shoot any prisoner who crossed the deadline.[2] The "deadline" in such prison camps as Confederate Prison Camp Andersonville or Union Prison Camp Douglas Chicago during the Civil War was "Inside (the wall), about 19 feet from the wall,” which prisoners were forbidden to cross. The "deadline" was intended to prevent prisoners from climbing over the stockade or from tunneling under it.[3] The term was later adapted in its use to time lines, perhaps to show the seriousness of an end date in a timeline by referring to it as a "deadline."


  1. ^ "Andersonville Prison". 
  2. ^ "The Mavens' Word of the Day". Randomhouse.com. 2000-04-20. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  3. ^ "deadline - definition of deadline by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-08-30.