threshold

noun
thresh·​old | \ ˈthresh-ˌhōld How to pronounce threshold (audio) , ˈthre-ˌshōld \

Definition of threshold

1 : the plank, stone, or piece of timber that lies under a door : sill
2a : gate, door
b(1) : end, boundary specifically : the end of a runway
(2) : the place or point of entering or beginning : outset on the threshold of a new age
3a : the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced has a high threshold for pain
b : a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not

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Synonyms for threshold

Synonyms

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Did You Know?

The earliest known use of "threshold" in the English language is from Alfred the Great's Old English translation of the Roman philosopher Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae. In this translation, which was written around 888, "threshold" appears as "þeorscwold" (that first letter is called a thorn and it was used in Old English and Middle English to indicate the sounds produced by "th" in "thin" and "this"). The origins of this Old English word are not known, though it is believed to be related to Old English "threscan," from which we get the words thresh, meaning "to separate seed from (a harvested plant) using a machine or tool" and "thrash," meaning, among other things "to beat soundly with or as if with a stick or whip."

Examples of threshold in a Sentence

… we still hadn't grasped that we had crossed a threshold where it no longer mattered what passport you carried, that you were young and loved, … or that you were a noncombatant. — Paul Salopek, National Geographic, April 2008 As we speak, the very worst of humanity is on the threshold of acquiring the most powerful weapons in history—this is a fear and a consideration to be taken very seriously. — Charles Krauthammer, New Republic, 29 Apr. 2002 We thought that we were on the threshold of an age of space travel. But the greatest impact of the trip to the moon was on how we view the Earth. — Suzannah Lessard, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2001 He stepped across the threshold. If your income rises above a certain threshold, your tax rate also rises.
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Recent Examples on the Web And two weeks after the state hits the threshold of 65% of residents who've gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Whitmer's plan would lift all indoor capacity limits, but still require social distancing. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 vaccination rates in Michigan: The 5 best counties and the 5 worst," 4 May 2021 The Commission also proposed raising the threshold of new COVID-19 cases that is used to determine the countries from which all travel should be permitted. Samuel Petrequin, USA TODAY, "EU proposal could reopen borders to vaccinated travelers, more countries by June," 3 May 2021 The Commission also proposed raising the threshold of new COVID-19 cases that is used to determine the countries from which all travel should be permitted. BostonGlobe.com, "EU proposal would allow vaccinated travelers by the end of June," 3 May 2021 Most estimates have placed the threshold of herd immunity at 60-70% of the population, either through vaccination or past exposure to COVID-19. al, "95% passenger vaccinations required before cruise restart, CDC says; Mobile mayor encouraged," 30 Apr. 2021 Despite that, organizers gathered 1,626,042 valid signatures, well above the threshold of the 1,495,709 required to hold the recall election. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Cruz blasts double standard on signature verification after California tosses 20% of recall signatures," 28 Apr. 2021 So the chance of any serious gun control measures reaching the threshold of 60 votes in the Senate to overcome Republican blocking tactics remains slim. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Mass shootings and the Chauvin trial force America to confront its culture of violence," 19 Apr. 2021 When the world back in January passed the bleak threshold of 2 million deaths, immunization drives had just started in Europe and the United States. Author: David Biller, Maria Cheng, Joshua Goodman, Anchorage Daily News, "Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million," 18 Apr. 2021 When the world back in January passed the bleak threshold of 2 million deaths, immunization drives had just started in Europe and the United States. David Biller, chicagotribune.com, "Worldwide death toll from COVID-19 tops a staggering 3 million," 17 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'threshold.' 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 threshold

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for threshold

Middle English thresshold, from Old English threscwald; akin to Old Norse threskjǫldr threshold, Old English threscan to thresh

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Time Traveler for threshold

Time Traveler

The first known use of threshold was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Threshold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threshold. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for threshold

threshold

noun

English Language Learners Definition of threshold

: a piece of wood, metal, or stone that forms the bottom of a door and that you walk over as you enter a room or building
: the point or level at which something begins or changes

threshold

noun
thresh·​old | \ ˈthresh-ˌhōld How to pronounce threshold (audio) \

Kids Definition of threshold

1 : the sill of a door
2 : a point or place of beginning or entering Ralph had a scary feeling he was on the threshold of adventure.— Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle

threshold

noun
thresh·​old | \ ˈthresh-ˌ(h)ōld How to pronounce threshold (audio) \

Medical Definition of threshold

: the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced (as the degree of stimulation of a nerve which just produces a response or the concentration of sugar in the blood at which sugar just begins to pass the barrier of the kidneys and enter the urine) below the threshold of consciousness the threshold of pain a high renal clearance threshold

called also limen

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threshold

noun
thresh·​old | \ ˈthresh-ˌhōld How to pronounce threshold (audio) \

Legal Definition of threshold

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a point of beginning : a minimum requirement for further action specifically : a determination (as of fact or the existence of a reasonable doubt) upon which something else (as further consideration or a right of action) hinges the threshold for inquiry

threshold

adjective

Legal Definition of threshold (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being a threshold the threshold issue in a negligence action is whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiffNoakes v. City of Seattle, 895 P.2d 842 (1995) a threshold showing of the need for psychiatric evaluation

Comments on threshold

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