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

brink, cusp, edge, point, verge

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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

Still, the smallest firms—those below the VAT-threshold of £85,000 ($111,117) in annual revenue—won’t be required to comply with the new tax-reporting rules. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "U.K. Companies Say New Electronic Tax Reporting Rules Add to Brexit Burden," 29 Mar. 2019 The law also required an additional four licenses after 100,000 patients registered for the medical marijuana treatment, a threshold that was recently surpassed, meaning that at least seven new licenses are up for grabs. Dara Kam, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Judge urges state to grant medical-marijuana license to South Florida nursery," 18 June 2018 Analysts say that Erdogan's ruling party could be denied a parliamentary majority if the HDP again manages to surpass a 10 percent threshold and win parliamentary seats. Suzan Fraser, The Christian Science Monitor, "Turkish presidential candidate runs campaign from jail," 8 June 2018 Even a trend as benign as fist-bumping has to reach a critical threshold before it is widely accepted. Roni Dengler, Science | AAAS, "How minority viewpoints become majority ones," 7 June 2018 City officials will continue to test every day for seven days to be sure the levels stay below a dangerous threshold, said spokesman Bill Evans in a statement. Molly Harbarger, OregonLive.com, "Wilsonville water safe to drink after found free of cyanotoxins," 4 June 2018 By the end of this month, Intermex anticipates hitting a major transaction threshold and will surpass 2 million transactions in a single month, thanks in part to the rolling Mother's Days throughout Latin America. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "As crackdown looms, Latin American immigrants rush billions in cash home | Miami Herald," 25 May 2018 Once the storm hits a threshold it would be classified as a tropical depression, tropical storm and then the hurricane categories. Madison Park And Michael Guy, CNN, "Florida could see lots of rain as system in Gulf of Mexico moves northward," 14 May 2018 The disparity was caused by changes in how the city charges customers who use less than a minimum threshold of water, Finance Director Tina Smigielski said. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Waukegan considers water rebate program for lower-income seniors," 25 June 2018

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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Statistics for threshold

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for threshold

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

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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

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