Symbolically, a threshold marks the boundary between a household and the outer world, and hence between belonging and not-belonging, and between safety and danger. Guarding the doorway is an important aspect of magical *house protection, which can involve the threshold. In Tudor and Stuart times this (rather than the door itself) was the usual place to fix *horseshoes, and in some cases the threshold itself was an *iron slab (C. F. Tebbutt, Folklore 91 (1980), 240). Later, there was a custom in some areas of making patterns on well-scrubbed doorsteps, which some people regarded as simply decorative, but others as defensive. Thus, in Herefordshire a pattern of nine *crosses kept witches out (Leather, 1912: 18), and up to about 1900 every Shropshire farmhouse and cottage had its doorstep and hearthstone decorated with patterns made from the pigment produced by squeezing elder or dock leaves, and some still did in the 1930s.
   [They] are for the most part very simple - a border of crosses between two lines; a series of vandykes with or without a circle in the wide part of each vandyke;
   two large crosses, divided by a vertical line I can remember that when I was a child, one of our maids used to decorate the back doorstep with a border of loops, and it is an interesting point that these loops had to be done straight round in an unbroken chain. It would have been 'unlucky' to do the top of the step and then break off and do the bottom of it before the sides These patterns were said to keep the Devil away.... Nowadays they say the patterns are 'laid' for luck; or a young woman may say that she does them to 'plaze granny, who dotes on 'em, bein' as they've allus bin laid 'ere'. (L. H. Hayward, Folk-Lore 49 (1938), 236-7)

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Threshold — may refer to:Books and comics* Threshold (novel), a 1985 science fiction novel by David R. Palmer * Threshold (Sara Douglass novel), a 1997 fantasy novel by Sara Douglass * Threshold , a 2001 science fiction novel by Caitlín R. KiernanFilm and… …   Wikipedia

  • threshold — thresh‧old [ˈθreʆhəʊld, ʆəʊld ǁ oʊld] noun [countable] the level at which something belongs in a particular class or is affected by a particular rule: • Many large mortgages were taken out, on the assumption that interest rates would remain below …   Financial and business terms

  • threshold — thresh·old 1 / thresh ˌhōld/ n: a point of beginning: a minimum requirement for further action; specif: a determination (as of fact or the existence of a reasonable doubt) upon which something else (as further consideration or a right of action)… …   Law dictionary

  • Threshold — (engl. für „Schwelle“) bezeichnet einen Begriff aus der Teilchenphysik, siehe Schwellenergie einen Arbeitspunkt in MOS Transistoren (dt. Schwellspannung), siehe Metall Oxid Halbleiter Feldeffekttransistor einen Optimierungsalgorithmus, siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • threshold — [thresh′ōld΄, thresh′hōld΄] n. [ME threschwold < OE therscwold (akin to ON threskǫlder) < base of therscan (see THRASH) + ?] 1. DOORSILL 2. the entrance or beginning point of something [at the threshold of a new career] 3. Physiol. Psychol …   English World dictionary

  • Threshold — Thresh old, n. [OE. threswold, [thorn]reshwold, AS. [thorn]rescwald, [thorn]erscwald, [thorn]erscold, [thorn]rescold, fr. [thorn]rescan, [thorn]erscan, to thresh; akin to Icel. [thorn]reskj[ o]de, [thorn]r[ o]skuldr, Sw. tr[ o]skel, Dan.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • threshold — O.E. þrescold, þærscwold, þerxold doorsill, point of entering, first element related to O.E. þrescan (see THRESH (Cf. thresh)), with its original sense of tread, trample. Second element of unknown origin and much transformed in all the Germanic… …   Etymology dictionary

  • threshold — threshold. См. порог. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Threshold —   [englisch, θreʃəʊld; wörtlich »Schwelle«], an bestimmten Effektgeräten (Flanger, Limiter, Noisegate u. a.) einstellbarer Pegel (Schwellwert), bei dessen Erreichen der beabsichtigte Effekt ausgelöst wird …   Universal-Lexikon

  • threshold —  Threshold  Пороговый сигнал   Наименьший сигнал на входе приемного устройства, при котором обеспечивается его регистрация с заданной достоверностью …   Толковый англо-русский словарь по нанотехнологии. - М.

  • threshold — is spelt with one h (contrast withhold), and the h is optionally silent or aspirated in speech …   Modern English usage