January 5th, 2017

words are sexy

Thursday word: liminal

liminal (LI-muh-nl or LAIM-uh-nl) - adj., of or pertaining to a threshold or boundary, esp. a sensory threshold; relating to or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition; of or relating to the beginning of a state or process.

For that sensory threshold, it's related to the psychological concept of liminality. This is not a common word outside of technical uses, especially compared to the form subliminal, being below the threshold of perception. It was coined in 1884 from Latin līmen, threshold. I poke at this one every so often to remind myself that it is not "limnal" but has three syllables.

Spaces like the threshold of a door are liminal, lying between defined areas without belonging to either of them.