noun thresh·old \ˈthresh-ˌhōld, ˈthre-ˌshōld\

: 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

Full Definition of THRESHOLD

:  the plank, stone, or piece of timber that lies under a door :  sill
a :  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>
a :  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

Examples of THRESHOLD

  1. … 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


Middle English thresshold, from Old English threscwald; akin to Old Norse threskjǫldr threshold, Old English threscan to thresh
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to THRESHOLD

Other Building Terms

batten, cistern, hearth, lath, transom, wainscot
THRESHOLD Defined for Kids


noun thresh·old \ˈthresh-ˌhōld\

Definition of THRESHOLD for Kids

:  the sill of a door
:  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>
Medical Dictionary


noun thresh·old \ˈthresh-ˌ(h)ōld\

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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