Threshold - Encyclopedia




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THRESHOLD, the door-sill, the piece of stone or wood which is placed at the bottom of a door, gate, or entrance to a house or other building. The word is used in psychology as the equivalent of Ger. Schwelle and of Lat. limen, i.e. the lowest limit of sensation, the point at which the intensity of sensation becomes just noticeable. Etymologically threshold (0. Eng. berscold, M. Eng. hreswold) has usually been divided "thresh," i.e. thrash, beat, and wold, wald, wood; the word meaning the pieces of wood beaten or trampled by the feet. The termination, as is shown by the Old English form, has probably no connexion with wald, but is merely a suffix, as in O. H. Ger. driscufli, threshold. The first part is certainly "thrash," beat; some have supposed that in early times the entrance to a house was used as a threshing-floor.

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