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From Latin liminalis, from līmen (doorstep, threshold; doorway, entrance; beginning, commencement)[1] + -ālis (suffix forming adjectives of relationship from nouns). Līmen is possibly derived from līmus (askew; sideways) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *Heh₃l- (to bend, bow; elbow)) + -men (suffix forming neuter nouns of the third declension) (from Proto-Indo-European *-mn̥ (suffix forming action nouns or result nouns from verbs)).



liminal (comparative more liminal, superlative most liminal)

  1. Of or pertaining to an entrance or threshold. [from late 19th c.]
    • 1999, Sarah Iles Johnston, “Divinities and the Dead”, in Restless Dead: Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, ↑ISBN, page 209:
      [S]paces such as the threshold of a door are "liminal," lying between otherwise defined areas without belonging to either of them. All over the world, [] liminal situations are associated with demons.
  2. Of or pertaining to a beginning or first stage of a process. [from late 19th c.]
    Synonyms: inceptive, inchoative, marginal
    • 1884, James Sully, “Sensation”, in Outlines of Psychology: With Special Reference to the Theory of Education. A Text-book for Colleges, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton and Company, 1, 3, and 5 Bond Street, OCLC 41317157, page 114:
      Every stimulus must reach a certain intensity before any appreciable sensation results. This point is known as the threshold or liminal intensity.

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