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

Synonyms for threshold

Synonyms

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Gelesis reported that participants in its clinical trial who used Plenity had an average weight loss of 6.4% of body weight — above the 5% that many physicians say is a good target threshold. Julie Appleby, CBS News, 20 June 2022 By the end of the play, Rooster Byron himself is on a threshold between one life and another. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 19 June 2022 For commanding officers, there is a very low threshold for a personal infraction, said Gold, who is now a military law attorney. Melissa Chan, NBC News, 17 June 2022 Bitcoin came close to hitting $20,000 in the past 24 hours, a threshold that could potentially trigger large liquidations. Andy Edstrom, Fortune, 16 June 2022 The revenue from Apple could grow beyond $250 million per season if subscriptions to Apple TV’s MLS service surpass a certain threshold. Ian Nicholas Quillen, Forbes, 16 June 2022 There was one day in which prices moved by more than 10%, a typical threshold. M. Todd Henderson, WSJ, 15 June 2022 The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline crossed the $5 mark, a psychological threshold that could cut into summer vacation plans and likely will continue to ratchet up demand for electric vehicles — and ride sharing services. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 13 June 2022 Among people who love French kissing, everyone has a different threshold for intensity. Nikki Campo, SELF, 8 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near threshold

threshing machine

threshold

threshold exposure

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Threshold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threshold. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for threshold

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on threshold

Nglish: Translation of threshold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of threshold for Arabic Speakers

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