Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to a threshold or entrance.
  • adj. Relating to a beginning or first stage of a process; inceptive; inchoative; marginal; insignificant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. of or pertaining to a limen, especially a sensory threshhold.
  • adj. marginally perceptible.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to the threshold or entrance; hence, relating to the beginning or first stage; inceptive; inchoative.
  • Specifically In psychophysics, pertaiuing to the stimulus limen or differential limen. See limen.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin liminalis, from limen, "threshold", + -alis, adjective ending

Examples

  • Havdalah marks what is called a "liminal moment," a boundary between the sacredness of the Sabbath and the ordinary days of the week.

    Rabbi Lawrence Troster: The Spice-Box Of Earth: Remembering Where We Come From

  • Dragonflies tend to turn up at times in my life that I would describe as liminal -- threshold moments when you stand in the doorway between what your life was before and what it will be.

    Cathleen Falsani: God Nods: Girl With the Dragonfly Tattoo

  • In anthropological terms, the transformative experience discussed above takes place during a phenomenon called the liminal state, that moment when a person has stepped across a psychological "threshold" out of the ordinary "world" of existence into a new "place" where they are open to experience, something undefined and unknown.

    A Motley Vision

  • I was inspired to buy this by Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy, which ranks it as a key exemplar of one of the four modes of fantasy story-telling, the 'liminal' in which the boundary with the fantastic is hazy and uncertain; other examples being Little, Big (which I bounced off) and the first two Gormenghast books (which I remember loving as a teenager).

    June Books 17) Lud-In-The-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees

  • Power's photographs of contemporary Poland, taken over five years, often present what the writer Iain Sinclair has called "liminal" landscapes: in-between places often on the outskirts of cities, neglected and overlooked, neither here nor there.

    The Sound of Two Songs by Mark Power

  • The nachtzehrer is a dead body kept in a kind of liminal life by supernatural forces or Satan.

    Plague Vampire Exorcism

  • In our extended family, we have defined the "liminal" as the place where two very different states of being meet.

    they lost our crib in CLT

  • So right now, I am living in another kind of liminal space.

    Random Thoughts on Life

  • I'm so glad I started reading this anthology of "liminal", literary/genre works around the time I served on a panel on comics as interstitial art; for one thing, the panel was another project of the IAF, which is a great force for bringing literary attention to writers whose work might otherwise disappear, incorrectly, into the genre ghetto.

    Archive 2007-06-22

  • It's a fancy word that means "in between", in case you wondered -- kind of like "liminal".

    Wednesday Stuff: Book Talk

Comments

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  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand for the phrase Supreme Court of the United States. --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906, p.317.

    January 30, 2013

  • A pair of nods to Victor Turner, my pals' Folklore advisor at Indiana University, would be "time-out-of-time" and "betwixt and between".

    August 6, 2009

  • Being neither altogether of one state or another. Between worlds.

    March 2, 2009

  • See also supraliminal.

    December 23, 2008

  • I was always told that Bronze Age burial mounds were often placed on the brows of hills, in a liminal location, giving a feeling of ancestral belonging to the residents of the valleys below.

    December 23, 2008

  • Interesting, knowing subliminal, but not this.

    August 1, 2008

  • From Oxford Dictionary Online:

    a. gen. Of or pertaining to the threshold or initial stage of a process. rare.

    b. spec. in Psychol. Of or pertaining to a ‘limen’ or ‘threshold.’

    July 31, 2008