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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), Swedish tröskel (threshold), dialectal Swedish träskvald (threshold), Icelandic þröskuldur (threshold).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈθɹeʃ(h)əʊld/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈθɹɛʃ(h)oʊld/
  • (file)


threshold (plural thresholds)

  1. The bottom-most 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.'
  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 mentally or physically is vulnerable in response to provocation or to particular things in general. As in emotions, stress, or pain.


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

Derived termsEdit



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.