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threshold definition


This page has 8 definitions of threshold in English. Threshold is a noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .



From Middle English threschwolde, threscholde, from Old English þresċold, þerxold, þrexwold (doorsill, entryway), from Proto-Germanic *þreskudlaz, *þreskūþlijaz, *þreskwaþluz, from Proto-Germanic *þreskaną, *þreskwaną (to thresh), from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁- (to rub, turn).

Cognate with Low German Drüssel (threshold), dialectal German Drischaufel, Drissufle, Trüschübel (threshold), Danish tærskel (threshold), Norwegian terskel (threshold), Swedish tröskel (threshold), dialectal Swedish träskvald (threshold), Icelandic þröskuldur (threshold).



threshold (plural thresholds)

  1. The lowermost part of a doorway that one crosses to enter; a sill.
  2. (by extension) An entrance; the door or gate of a house.
  3. (by extension) Any end or boundary.
  4. (figurative) The outset of something; the point of entry, or the beginning of an action.
    • 1927-29, M.K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, translated 1940 by Mahadev Desai, Part I, Chapter xi:
      I arrived at last, did obeisance to my uncle, and told him everything. He thought it over and said: ' [] At the threshold of death, how dare I give you permission to go to England, to cross the seas? But I will not stand in your way. It is your mother's permission which really matters. If she permit you, then godspeed! Tell her I will not interfere. You will go with my blessings.'
    • 1951 March, John W. Cline, “The Future of Medicine”, in Northwest Medicine, volume 50, number 3, Portland, Ore.: Northwest Medical Publishing Association, page 165:
      The first half of this century has been referred to as the golden age of medicine. To me it seems more probable that we are on the threshold of a much greater age.
  5. (aviation) The start of the landing area of a runway.
  6. (engineering) The quantitative point at which an action is triggered, especially a lower limit.
  7. The wage or salary at which income tax becomes due.
  8. The point where one is mentally or physically vulnerable in response to a provocation or to other nuisances.


  • (bottom-most part of a doorway): lintel

Derived terms

multiword expressions


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