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 To overcome a filibuster takes 60 votes, but some Democratic senators have proposed lowering that threshold to 51 votes, as has been done to allow approval of executive and judicial nominees. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, "Senate filibuster's racist past fuels arguments for its end," 10 Apr. 2021 To overcome a filibuster takes 60 votes, but some Democratic senators have proposed lowering that threshold to 51 votes, as has been done to allow approval of judicial nominees. Lisa Mascaro, Star Tribune, "Groups pressure Senate to end filibuster as Jim Crow relic," 8 Apr. 2021 Brazil reported a 24-hour tally of COVID-19 deaths exceeding 4,000 for the first time Tuesday, becoming the third nation to go above that daily threshold. Anne Godlasky, USA TODAY, "Brazil COVID deaths exceed 4,000 in a day as mass graves, low oxygen supplies shake the nation," 7 Apr. 2021 But if President Biden has his way, that threshold will be cut to $3.5 million, and the rate of tax increased to 45 percent (from 40 percent). Daniel J. Pilla, National Review, "Biden Plan Will Raise Taxes on the Middle Class," 7 Apr. 2021 The orange category includes states or territories that have a seven-day rolling average above 15 daily cases per 100,000 residents, while yellow states are under that threshold. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Travelers from Iowa, other states and Washington, D.C., will be subject to extra COVID-19 mitigations as part of Chicago’s emergency travel order starting Friday," 6 Apr. 2021 On Saturday, the United States administered 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the first time the country has hit that threshold. Alan Murray, Fortune, "On Bill Gates’s “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”," 5 Apr. 2021 The Indians have only three players who meet that threshold -- Jose Ramirez, Cesar Hernandez and Eddie Rosario. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "For 8 years, the Indians won and carried the losing Browns; now let Browns return the favor: Doug Lesmerises," 4 Apr. 2021 For about a month, Maryland’s rate remained below that threshold, declining as low as 3.24%. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland sets another COVID vaccination record but cases, positivity rate continue trending in wrong direction," 3 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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Threshold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threshold. Accessed 12 Apr. 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

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Comments on threshold

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