subliminal

[ suhb-lim-uh-nl ]
/ sʌbˈlɪm ə nl /

adjective Psychology.

existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the individual: a subliminal stimulus; subliminal advertising.

Origin of subliminal

1885–90; sub- + Latin līmin- (stem of līmen) threshold + -al1

Related forms

sub·lim·i·nal·ly, adverbnon·sub·lim·i·nal, adjectivenon·sub·lim·i·nal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for subliminal

subliminal

/ (sʌbˈlɪmɪnəl) /

adjective

resulting from processes of which the individual is not aware
(of stimuli) less than the minimum intensity or duration required to elicit a response

Derived Forms

subliminally, adverb

Word Origin for subliminal

C19: from Latin sub- below + līmen threshold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for subliminal

subliminal

[ sŭb-lĭmə-nəl ]

adj.

Below the threshold of conscious perception. Used of stimuli.
Inadequate to produce conscious awareness but able to evoke a response.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.