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 Warren proposes a 2% tax on households with net wealth (which includes assets like property, certain kinds of businesses and works of art) above a threshold of $50 million. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Booker Goes on Offense in Tepid Atlanta Democratic Debate. Here’s What to Know," 21 Nov. 2019 County health officials say 39 samples tested last month from 24 schools had results above the EPA threshold in one or more fountains. USA TODAY, "Soccer seismology, lobster drop, battle ax defense: News from around our 50 states," 12 Nov. 2019 All but roughly $95,000 of Trump Victory’s $65 million haul for the 2019-20 cycle have come in increments of more than $200 — and many are well above that threshold. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Despite troubles, Trump has huge cash advantage heading into 2020," 8 Nov. 2019 Spending on starting pitching has repercussions on all other decisions for a team that went back above the luxury tax threshold this year after dropping below for the first time in 2018. Ronald Blum, courant.com, "Yankees need ace like Gerrit Cole as they pivot toward 2020," 21 Oct. 2019 Spending on starting pitching has repercussions on all other decisions for a team that went back above the luxury tax threshold this year after dropping below for the first time in 2018. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Yankees need ace like Gerrit Cole as they pivot toward 2020," 20 Oct. 2019 For candidates above the threshold, delegates are awarded proportionally by their vote percentage. Kabir Khanna And Anthony Salvanto, CBS News, "CBS News Battleground Tracker: How the delegate estimates work," 13 Oct. 2019 If warming rises above that threshold, the oceans could take up as much as seven times more heat between now and 2100 than in the previous 50 years. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Dramatically change society to curb climate change or drown in higher sea levels, warns a new UN report," 25 Sep. 2019 Many employees in those industries have been paid just above the $23,660 threshold, which has been in place since 2004, and then required to work overtime without extra pay. Washington Post, "Trump administration expands overtime pay to 1M more workers," 24 Sep. 2019

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

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Threshold.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threshold. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for threshold

threshold

noun
How to pronounce threshold (audio)

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

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Comments on threshold

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