liminal

adjective lim·i·nal \ ˈli-mə-nᵊl \

Definition of liminal

1 :of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold :barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response
  • liminal visual stimuli
2 :of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition :in-between, transitional
  • in the liminal state between life and death
  • —Deborah Jowitt

liminal was our Word of the Day on 07/11/2016. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of liminal from the Web

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Get In Between liminal

The noun limen refers to the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced, and liminal is the adjective used to describe things associated with that point, or threshold, as it is also called. Likewise, the closely related word subliminal means "below a threshold"; it can describe something inadequate to produce a sensation or something operating below a threshold of consciousness. Because the sensory threshold is a transitional point where sensations are just beginning to be perceptible, liminal acquired two extended meanings. It can mean "barely perceptible" and is now often used to mean "transitional" or "intermediate," as in "the liminal zone between sleep and wakefulness."

Origin and Etymology of liminal

Latin limin-, limen threshold


Medical Dictionary

liminal

adjective lim·i·nal \ ˈlim-ən-ᵊl \

medical Definition of liminal

:of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold :barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response
  • liminal visual stimuli

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