Last updated Mar 22, 2024 and written by Tom Richardson

What does Limited actually mean?

On Friday we posted a piece entitled “Limited and Ltd: What suffix to use?” What the post didn’t touch on was what the term “Limited” actually means (in a company sense). So what better time than now to explore the definition? Here goes.

In a limited company the liability of the shareholders is, you guessed it, limited. This means that if the company were to become insolvent, the shareholders are only liable for the shares that they own. For example, if I owned 50 shares worth £1 each in a limited company that became insolvent, I would only be liable for £50.

This is one of the major draws for forming a limited company over becoming a sole trader (of course there are other considerations that must be taken into account). Sole traders are liable for debts without limit; shareholders of limited companies have limited liability. Hence limited.