Monday, August 16, 2010

Word of the Day 8/16/2010

Liminal (adjective)
1 : of or relating to a sensory threshold
2 : barely perceptible
*3 : of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional

Example Sentence: "The Texas/Mexico border region is a liminal zone where one culture blends into another." (Dan Goddard, San Antonio Express News, November 16, 2005)

Did you know?: The noun "limen" refers to the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced, and "liminal" is the adjective used to describe things associated with that point, or threshold, as it is also called. Likewise, the closely related word "subliminal" means "below a threshold"; it can describe something inadequate to produce a sensation or something operating below a threshold of consciousness. Because the sensory threshold is a transitional point where sensations are just beginning to be perceptible, "liminal" acquired two extended meanings. It can mean "barely perceptible" and is now often used to mean "transitional" or "intermediate," as in "the liminal zone between sleep and wakefulness."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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