Definition of subliminal
- the subliminal mind
- subliminal advertising
The studio denied the existence of subliminal messages in the movie.
I am skeptical that subliminal advertising actually works.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subliminal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Since the Latin word limen means "threshold", something subliminal exists just below the threshold of conscious awareness. The classic example of a subliminal message is "Eat popcorn" flashed on a movie screen so quickly that the audience doesn't even notice it consciously. Actually, no such advertising has ever been shown to work. But ordinary ads, both in print and on TV, do contain all kinds of images that shape our response to the product being advertised even when we don't realize it. Try looking carefully at some ads that you like, in order to discover how many ways they may be subliminally affecting you.
First Known Use: 1883See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up subliminal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).