subliminal

adjective
sub·​lim·​i·​nal | \(ˌ)sə-ˈbli-mə-nᵊl \

Definition of subliminal 

1 : inadequate to produce a sensation or a perception

2 : existing or functioning below the threshold of consciousness the subliminal mind subliminal advertising

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Other Words from subliminal

subliminally adverb

Did You Know?

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.

Examples of subliminal in a Sentence

The studio denied the existence of subliminal messages in the movie. I am skeptical that subliminal advertising actually works.

Recent Examples on the Web

There is no American law against broadcasting subliminal messages to humans, let alone machines. New York Times, "Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.," 10 May 2018 Anything horrible can happen to you anywhere: That is the subliminal message of these calamities for those receptive to it. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Why I Still Travel," 19 July 2016 Honestly, the subliminal and overt messaging about sustainability is getting to me (in a good way). Jessica Cruel, SELF, "You Should Be Recycling Your Beauty Products—10 Things You Need to Know," 7 July 2018 This song isn’t revolutionary to Drake’s musical arsenal but pads the B-side with another vibey cut jam-packed with lines perfect for subliminal Instagram captions. Scott Glaysher, Billboard, "Ranking Each Song From the B-Side of Drake's 'Scorpion' Album: Critic's Take," 30 June 2018 Neither say anything about subliminal stimuli for smart devices. New York Times, "Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.," 10 May 2018 The subliminal appeal to the anti-black voter was always present in Nixon’s statements and speeches. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Has Not Transformed the Republican Party – Yet," 14 June 2018 There was a lot of subliminal, Freudian-level erotica in there. Jim Mclauchlin, WIRED, "The Secret History of the Racy Module That Almost Ruined D&D," 12 June 2018 Experiments have indicated that such subliminal techniques are highly effective. Robert Chalmers, Newsweek, "Digitising Smell: The Third Sense Is Coming to Your Phone," 11 Sep. 2014

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.

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First Known Use of subliminal

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subliminal

sub- + Latin limin-, limen threshold

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Time Traveler for subliminal

The first known use of subliminal was in 1883

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More Definitions for subliminal

subliminal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of subliminal

: relating to things that influence your mind in a way that you do not notice

subliminal

adjective
sub·​lim·​i·​nal | \(ˌ)səb-ˈlim-ən-ᵊl, ˈsəb- \

Medical Definition of subliminal 

1 : inadequate to produce a sensation or a perception

2 : existing or functioning below the threshold of consciousness the subliminal mind subliminal advertising

Other Words from subliminal

subliminally \-​ē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on subliminal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subliminal

Britannica English: Translation of subliminal for Arabic Speakers

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