Saturday, 10 June 2017

Two things I learned today

There's more to caraway than meets the eye

In my increasingly desperate efforts to come up with recipes to bake with the Bread of Heron bread group at the Heron Corn Mill, I decided this week that I would have a go at the Deli Rye recipe from the Staff of Life bread book (page 48).



If you don't know this loaf, you really need to get out more. It has been the highlight of many a visit to Kendal, but its strong flavour has always proved elusive. There is rye flour in there, some texture due to the cracked wheat, and there are caraway seeds in the mix certainly. But what is the flavour? It's so strong, but is it a herb? A spice? I could never put my finger on it.

It turns out that the overriding flavour of the loaf is in fact completely due to the a amount of caraway seeds. I was so surprised at how much caraway the recipe needed that I phoned the shop to check it wasn't a misprint. But the finished loaf doesn't even seem to taste of caraway seeds!


Just so you get the idea what a massive shot of caraway this loaf is delivering, consider this. My favourite Bellina wholemeal bread includes 5 g of caraway seed with 500 g of flour. And for nearly 30 years I was not allowed to make this bread at home because the flavour of the caraway is too strong for some people's tastes. (You know who you are!)

The Deli Rye recipe includes 25 g of caraway seed with 600 g of flour - that's 4 times as much caraway (weight for weight) as I include in the wholemeal bread.

I was quite excited to find that I had recreated the taste of the Staff of Life loaf fairly accurately, and as a result rather a lot of the loaf was eaten while it was still warm, in a great rush of enthusiasm - like you do. I haven't quite worked out yet if the caraway seeds were responsible for an attack of heartburn later on in the afternoon! Maybe I will have to try baking it again and see if it behaves more sociably when it has had time to cool down properly.

It really is an experience though!

In the interests of balance, here is a review of the Deli Rye loaf from Peter Gordon in the Guardian in 2007, when the price was only a little lower than 10 years later -

Staff of Life Bakery deli rye, 800g, £2.50 
Not your typical rye bread. Good for rye-bread beginners. I don't personally like it. 
1 star
It takes all sorts, I suppose!

Subliminal snakes

You never quite know what is going to come up in conversation when you are baking. This is one of the greatest pleasures about Bread of Heron - the serendipitous nature of the chit chat that goes on while we bake.

This week the word "threshold" came up, with the suggestion that it refers to the barn doors, with upper and lower halves which can open separately. We have a door like this in the shepherd's hut. I know these as "stable doors", which makes sense as you might be quite happy to have an 'orse's 'ead sticking out of the top half, while wishing to preempt any tendency to bolting by keeping the bottom half securely closed.

Here's a fine fellow whose upper moiety has the freedom of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, while his lower person is restrained within the perimeter of his personal stable space.



The idea about "threshold" was that the bottom half of such a pair of stable doors could be closed, and the top half opened. A farm cart could be backed up to the door, and corn (in the general sense of cereal crops) could be delivered over the top of the bottom door, and thence onto the floor of the barn. The bottom half of the door would then keep the grain in.

This all seemed quite plausible and really rather a satisfactory derivation for the word. You thresh grain on a threshing floor, and the door holds it back.

But then the doubts set in. The etymology doesn't feel right. This kind of thing comes back to haunt you in the middle of the night - especially when you have had too many caraway seeds - and nags away at the back of your mind until the only thing to do is look it up in the great treasury of words, the OED.

The OED has a noun "thresh", which is either a threshing implement or a rush (a Scottish usage - OED abbreviation "Sc" stands for "Scottish", not "scarce" as I originally thought!). But there is no sign of a noun "thresh" meaning something you could hold behind a door. This meaning of threshold may be an urban myth. (See number 4 in this list of myths.)

The most natural way to understand "thresh" is as a verb meaning to tread or stamp, either on your corn or on somebody's front door step, or threshold.

The OED entry for "threshold" (scroll down to the bottom of this blog) suggests that the meaning of the "hold" part of the word threshold is unclear. It also appears as "wald" or "wood", which to me suggests it is describing the material of which the threshold is made, rather than what the barn door might be doing to the grain behind it.

Googling "threshing" is quite fun. Look at these wonderful German gents having a fine time doing the threshing equivalent of Morris dancing. That reminds me of the day my daughter (as a little girl) came home and excitedly told her mum she had "seen Maurice, dancing outside the post office".

The rhythm of the German threshers is a little similar to the rhythm of these very brave rice cake pounders.

No roundup of threshing would be complete without some yaks.

So?


If "thresh" isn't what comes in from the farm, and "hold" isn't what a barn door does to it, what exactly does threshold mean?

According to the OED, the simple meaning is -

The piece of timber or stone which lies below the bottom of a door, and has to be crossed in entering a house; the sill of a doorway; hence, the entrance to a house or building.

There are all sorts of ritual / ceremonial / superstitious significances listed in the OED examples. But this thousand years old one is what really caught my eye -

Ofer þa duru, & under þone þerxwold.


"Over the door and under the threshold". What is that about? Maybe it's refering to some sort of a custom of marking the importance of the entrance to your home. The OED supplies a clue about what might go over the door -

The horse-shoe's nail'd (each threshold's guard).


More spooky is "under the threshold". What would you put under the threshold? According to owlcation.com -

The house snake tradition evolved in Scandinavia where it became customary to bury the body of a snake under the threshold for good luck in the home.


But where do these subliminal snakes come in? The OED has a thousand year old reference to "limen" as an equivalent word for threshold. So something that you are only subliminally aware of is something that is below the threshold of your consciousness. Best place for a snake!


******* End of blog - what follows is only intended for word nerds *******


thresholdn.

Etymology: Old English þerscold , -wold , þerxold , -wold , þrexold-wold = Old Norse þreskjǫldr , -kǫldr , nominative plural þreskeldir , modern Icelandic þröskuldr , Norwegian, Swedish tröskel , Danish (dør)tærskel ; compare Old High German driscûfli neuter, Middle High German drischuvel , durschufel , German dialect drischaufel , etc. The first element is generally identified with thresh v. (? in its original sense ‘to tread, trample’), the forms of which it generally follows; but the second is doubtful, and has in English, as in other languages, undergone many popular transformations.(Show Less)
 1.

 a. The piece of timber or stone which lies below the bottom of a door, and has to be crossed in entering a house; the sill of a doorway; hence, the entrance to a house or building.

α. OE þresc-þrex-þerxold, ME thresshhold, 15 threshouldthressaldthreszsh-tresholde, 15–16 thresholde, 15– threshold.
c1000   Ælfric Exodus xii. 22   And dippað ysopan sceaft on þam blode, þe ys on þam þerxolde.
c1000   Ælfric Deut. vi. 9   And write þa on þinum þrescolde.
c10001Ðrexold [see β. ].
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid vi. i. 100   To the dur thressald cumin ar thai.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 280/2   Thresholdeseuil de luys [l'uis].
1535   Bible (Coverdale1 Sam. v. 5   They..treade not vpon the threszsholde of Dagon.
1535   Bible (CoverdaleProv. xxvi. B,   Like as the dore turneth aboute vpon the tresholde.
1553   T. Becon Relikes of Rome (1563) 256 b,   At euery time the bishop shal come vnto ye church dore & strike ye thresholdthereof with his Crossier staffe.
a1616   Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) iv. v. 119   When I first my wedded Mistris saw Bestride my Threshold . 
1727   J. Gay Fables I. xxiii. 80   The horse-shoe's nail'd (each threshold's guard).
1837   E. Bulwer-Lytton Ernest Maltravers I. i. i. 9   A tall figure crossed the threshold.
β. OE þrex-þræx-þreoxðærsc-þersc-þeorsc-þercs-þer(e)xwoldþrexwald-wealdþersc-þærsc-,þirscwald, ME þreoxwold, ME þrex-thresshe-thresh-threswoldthers-þreis-thrys-throssche-,treswald, ME thrys-threschwoldethris-thresche-thryshwald, 15 threskwolde (18 dial. thresh-wood).c888Þeorscwold [see sense 2a].
971   Blickl. Hom. 207   Of ðæs portices dura..ðærscwolde wæs gesyne þæt [etc.].
c1000   Ælfric Gram. (Z.) ix. 40   Limen, oferslege oððe þerexwold [v.rr. þræx-, þreox-, þerxwold, ðrexold].
c1000   Sax. Leechd. II. 142   Ofer þa duru, & under þone þerxwold.
c1000   in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 280/15   Limenþerscwald.
11..   in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 551/32   Limen, ofersleie, uel þreoxwold.
c1325   Gloss. W. de Bibbesw. in Wright Voc. 170   La lyme, the therswald.
1362   Langland Piers Plowman A. v. 201   He þrompelde atte þrexwolde [v.rr. þresshewold, þreschfold, throschfold] and þreuh to þe grounde.
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.1 Kings xiv. 17   Whanne she wente in the threshwold of the hows, the child dyede.
c1386   Chaucer Clerk's Tale 232 (Lansd.)    And as sche wolde ouer þe þresshewolde gon [Camb. throswald, Petworth thresshold, Ellesmere, Hengwrt, Corp. thresshfold, Harl. þreisshfold].
c1400   Ywaine & Gaw. 3222   He come to the thriswald.
14..   in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 733/8   Hoc limen, -nisthryswold.
c1440   Promptorium Parvulorum 492/2   Threschwoldelimen.
1442–3   in J. R. Boyle Early Hist. Town & Port of Hedon (1895) App. p. clxxxiv,   Reparanti j. thryshwald infra tenementum suum.
c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Mary of Egypt 579 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 313   Quhen we come to þe thryswald.
c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Mary of Egypt 593 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 313,   I..furth can gange to þe treswald.
1483   Cath. Angl. 385/1   A Threschewaldelimen.
1511   in W. H. Stevenson Rec. Borough Nottingham (1885) III. 333   Makyng ye seid doore and leyeng of ij. threskwoldes.
1825   J. Briggs Rem. 215 (E.D.D.)   Upon this thresh-wood..cross straws were laid.
γ. ME þreschefoldethreshfooldþreshe-thressh-þresch-threissh-threis-throschfold, ME thresh-,thresfold(e (18 dial. thresh-fod).
c1374   Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Cambr.) i. pr. i. 3   They passeden sorwfully the thresshfold [B.M. MS. þreschefolde].
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.Ezek. ix. 3   At the threshfoold [a1425 L.V. threisfold] of the house.
1393   Langland Piers Plowman C. vii. 408   He thrumbled at þe þreshefold [v.rr. þresshfold, þrescwolde, treshfold].
1413   Pilgr. Sowle (1483) iii. ix. 56   Not by the dore but vnder the threshfold drawen oute.
14..   in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 592/47   Limen, a thresfolde.
1828   W. Carr Dial. Craven (ed. 2)    Thresh-fodthreshold.
δ. 15 thressholl, 16–17 threshal, 18 dial. threshelthrashel ( drashel).1593Thressholl [see sense 2b].
1607   G. Chapman Bussy D'Ambois iv. 54   Ile make th' inspired threshals of his Court Sweat with the weather of my horrid steps Before I enter.
1655   J. Howell 4th Vol. Familiar Lett. xliii. 104   He dragg'd her body to the threshall of the door.
1787   in Coll. Sc. Poems 12 (E.D.D.)   Luckie out o'er the threshal goes.
1898   J. MacManus Bend of Road 90   The house crammed..from the threshel to the backstone.
1900   G. Williams Fairmner's Tint Laddies iv. (E.D.D.),   To cross the thrashel o' oor hoose.
ε. dial.16 treshwart, 18 threshwortthreshut; 18 freshwood: cf. [see th n.1].   (6).
1608   in J. Barmby Churchwardens' Accts. Pittington (1888) 151   Pd to John Lamb for mendinge of the treshwart of the portch, iiij d.
18..   Brierley Out of Work x. (E.D.D.),   Mind thou doesno' tumble o'er that threshut.
1825   J. Briggs Rem. 201 (E.D.D.)   The entrance from the front door was called the freshwood.
1879   T. F. Simmons Lay Folks Mass Bk. Notes 399,   I bids thee..never again set thy foot over my freshwood.
1888   W. Dickinson Lit. Rem. 234 (E.D.D.)   The threshwort's worn quite hollow down.
1892   R. O. Heslop Northumberland Words   Fresh-wood, the threshold, or foot-beam of the front door.

 b. (erron.) The upper horizontal part of a door-case; the lintel. rare.

[Cf. c1000   in 1 α, 1 β  
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.(Bodl. 959) (1959) Exod. xii. 22   Þe lytyll sprynkill of ysope wetiþ in blode þat is in þe neþer þreschwald & sprengiþ of it þe ouer þreschwald [a1425 Corpus Oxf. ouerthreswold; a1425 L.V. lyntel; L. superliminare].]
1821   J. Clare Village Minstrel I. 11   The rural sports of May, When each cot-threshold mounts its hailing bough.
1834   H. Martineau Demerara (new ed.) iv. 52   Cassius stood, leaning his forehead against his low threshold.
 2. transf. and fig.

 a. Border, limit (of a region); the line which one crosses in entering. spec. in an airfield: the beginning of the landing area on a runway. Also attrib.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxi,   Se ilca [sc. Godes miht] forwyrnð þæræ sæ þæt heo ne mot þone þeorscwold oferstæppan þære eorþan.
a900   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (1890) v. vi. 398   Forðon þe he mæc..from deaðes þirscwalde wæs acegende.
1642   T. Fuller Holy State iii. iv. 159   Know most of the rooms of thy native countrey before thou goest over the thresholdthereof.
a1863   F. W. Faber Happy Gate of Heaven (hymn) ii,   Fair are the thresholds of blue sea.
1899   Westm. Gaz. 2 Sept. 2/1   On what is known as ‘the threshold of England’, the Sussex coast.
1937   Jrnl. Royal Aeronaut. Soc. 41 295   Sites..for threshold lighting and other signal apparatus required to assist the pilot.
1960   Guide Civil Land Aerodrome Lighting (B.S.I.) 15   A pilot needs to be given a clear indication of the runway thresholdand the addition of wingbars, composed of green lights, is recommended to make the threshold more conspicuous in poor visibility.

 b. In reference to entrance, the beginning of a state or action, outset, opening. (In quot. 1659, in reference to going out or leaving, close, end.)

1593   Queen Elizabeth I tr. Boethius De Consolatione Philosophiæ in Queen Elizabeth's Englishings (1899) ii. pr. iv. 28   The thressholl of thy felicitie.
c1595   Countess of Pembroke Psalme cxix. 3 in Coll. Wks. (1998) II. 206   Right wonderfull thy testimonies be:..Their very threshold giues men light.
1659   in C. H. Firth Clarke Papers (1901) IV. 297,   I..shall be moste glad to heare that you are gott over the thresholde of your present troublesome stay in London, the country being the most proper place for [etc.].
1834   L. Ritchie Wanderings by Seine 8   The youth, stepping proudly upon the threshold of manhood.
1877   M. Foster Text Bk. Physiol. (1878) iii. i. 389   We are..met on the very threshold of every enquiry [etc.].
 c. In technical language, a lower limit.

 (a) Psychol.: esp. in phr. threshold of consciousness: see quots., and cf. limen n.subliminal adj. and n.   In Physiol. and more widely: the limit below which a stimulus is not perceptible; the magnitude or intensity of a stimulus which has to be exceeded for it to produce a certain response.

 (b) The magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction or phenomenon to occur.

1874   J. Sully Sensation & Intuition 47   There is a certain limit below which our several sensibilities are unable to discriminate. This boundary..Fechner calls the ‘threshold’ (die Schwelle).
1886   E. Gurney et al. Phantasms of Living I. 453   A telepathic disturbance may take place below the threshold of consciousness.
1886   J. Ward in Encycl. Brit. XX. 47/2   We do not distinguish or attend separately to presentations of less than a certain assignable intensity. On attaining this intensity presentations are said to pass over the threshold of consciousness, to use Herbart's now classic phrase [‘Schwelle des Bewusstseins ’ (Psychol. als Wissenschaft (1824) §47)].
1902   J. M. Baldwin Dict. Philos. & Psychol. II. 696/2   The least noticeable difference in sensation is called the threshold of discrimination or difference.
1919   W. D. Halliburton Handbk. Physiol. (ed. 14) lii. 767   That strength of stimulus which just suffices to evoke a sensation is called..its absolute threshold.
1922   Electr. Communication I. i. 45/1   Articulation tests were made upon the..telephone system..when it was set to deliver various intensities from the threshold of audibility to very large values.
1930   City Noise (N.Y. Noise Abatement Commission) 34   This means decibels above the threshold of hearing.
1931   Brit. Jrnl. Psychol. Jan. 285   There is a definite ‘colourless interval’ between the ‘general threshold’, or the intensity which just suffices to produce a sensation of light, and the ‘specific threshold’, or the intensity at which colour is just noticeable.
1936   G. K. Zipf Psycho-biol. of Lang. 113   Every phoneme must also have a lower threshold below which it cannot pass without strengthening.
1938   Ann. Reg. 1937 346   The view [was] advanced that spontaneous mutations are mono-molecular reactions produced by thermal agitation when this over~steps the energy threshold of the chemical bonds.
1941   in M. Gowing Brit. & Atomic Energy 1939–45 (1964) 403   From..the fact that [uranium] 238 does not give fission with slow neutrons, it is clear that the jump at 1 MeV represents the threshold of 238. The fission which takes place with neutrons of energy less than 1 MeV must therefore be ascribed to 235.
1948   P. M. Morse Vibration & Sound (ed. 2) vi. 227   The upper contour is the threshold of pain, above which the sensation is more of pain than of sound (and the result is more or less damaging to the ear).
1949   A. Koestler Insight & Outlook xv. 207   Heightening the threshold of some sensory receptors and lowering the threshold of others.
1949   S. C. Rothmann Constructive Uses Atomic Energy 205   The Geiger threshold of a radiation counter tube is the lowest operating voltage at which the charge transferred per isolated count is substantially independent of the nature of the initial ionizing event.
1950   Gloss. Aeronaut. Terms (B.S.I.) i. 25   Cruising threshold, the equivalent air speed giving the lowest comfortable continuous cruising speed.
1955   J. A. Wheeler in W. Pauli Niels Bohr & Devel. Physics 166   A photofission threshold of 5·15 MeV..goes with a half life against spontaneous fission of the order of 1015·8 years.
1958   Oxf. Univ. Gaz. 27 Jan. 524/2 (heading   Non-random sequences in visual threshold experiments.
1959   Sunday Times 5 July 8/6   The absence of a lower threshold for the production of mutations by radiation.
1962   A. Nisbett Technique Sound Studio v. 98   At 1,000 c/s the threshold of pain is 110 dB or more above the threshold of hearing.
1963   B. Fozard Instrumentation Nucl. Reactors v. 46   The scaling circuit which is used to count the pulses from the G.M. tube has some more or less well defined ‘threshold’, i.e. it accepts only those pulses which exceed a certain amplitude.
1965   Proc. Royal Soc. B. 161 338   While a climatic change in one area may have produced conditions very favourable for a new species, in another area the same climatic change may have produced conditions only just above the critical physiological thresholds for the existence of that species.
1965   W. Lamb Posture & Gesture iii. 44   There has been a lot of investigation of the threshold of fatigue in athletics and the type of training required to push this threshold back is well understood.
1972   J. Mosedale Football ix. 124   Performances like Nevers' demonstrates [sic] the high threshold of pain common to many athletes.
1973   Times 19 Oct. 7/8   A GP who might only see one case of child abuse a year might not have as low a threshold of suspicion as I have.
1983   Sci. Amer. Jan. 98/2   Above a certain threshold, known as the critical density, the expansion [of the universe] will eventually cease and contraction will begin.

 (c) In contexts of wages and taxation, in which wage or tax increases become due or obligatory when some predetermined conditions are fulfilled (esp. above a specified point on a graduated scale). Also in more general use in contexts of work. Freq. attrib.

1967   L. B. Archer in G. Wills & R. Yearsley Handbk. Managem. Technol. 131   Usually there is a threshold between ‘good enough’ and ‘not good enough’ in respect of each objective, below which a design proposal would not be acceptable.
1971   Guardian 7 Sept. 11/2   Mr [Tom] Jackson..argued in favour of a single threshold claim on behalf of all public employees.
1972   Observer 13 Aug. 10/8   Threshold cost of living agreements could make things much happier so long as the thresholdis put fairly high and/or there is a big reduction in the effective basic level of wage settlements.
1974   Ann. Reg. 1973 14   The main features of the incomes plan [of Mr. Edward Heath] were..threshold payments of a maximum of 40p. a week if the retail price index were to rise by 7 per cent [etc.].
1976   F. Zweig New Acquisitive Society ii. iv. 108   The tax thresholds in real terms have been substantially lowered over the years.
1979   H. Wilson Final Term ii. 42   Viewed with hindsight the thresholds were a disastrous mistake. That does not in fact mean that Mr Heath had been wrong to introduce them in October 1973.
1980   J. Boyd-Carpenter Way of Life xiii. 169   The alternative relief was to make a big increase in the level of the ‘Thresholds’, that is to say the point on the income scale at which people became liable to tax.

d. An obstacle, stumbling-block. Obs.

1600   W. Cornwallis Ess. I. iv. sig. D2,   Makes his imagination build blockes and thresholdes, in the plainest and most beaten way.
?1706   E. Hickeringill Priest-craft: 2nd Pt. viii. 91   Let us set the Church Doors Wide open, and not please our sleves, by laying great Thresholds, Scandals, or Stumbling-blocks at the Church Door.
?1706   E. Hickeringill Priest-craft: 2nd Pt. vii. 70,   I hope it was left by chance, and not on purpose to be a Threshold, or Stumbling-block at the Church Door.
 3. attrib. and Comb.
1535   Bible (Coverdale2 Kings xxii. 5   The money that is brought vnto ye house of ye Lorde (which the tresholde kepers haue gathered).
a1661   B. Holyday tr. Juvenal Satyres (1673) vi. 95   The hangings too, and threshold-boughs yet green.
1678   T. Otway Friendship in Fashion v. 55   Let all the Doors be barr'd.., and Gunpowder under each Threshold-place.
1805   Scott Lay of Last Minstrel i. i. 9   No living wight, save the Ladye alone, Had dared to cross the threshold stone.
1842   Tennyson St. Simeon Stylites in Poems (new ed.) II. 62   His footsteps smite the threshold stairs Of life.

 b. (Having a value or intensity) equal to that of a threshold (sense 2c).

1906   J. R. Murlin tr. R. Tigerstedt Text-bk. Human Physiol. xvi. 455   In order that an external stimulus may produce a sensation, it must exceed a certain lower limit of strength, which is called, after Herbart, the threshold value of the stimulus.
1921   J. Mills Within Atom 215   Threshold frequency, the minimum frequency of radiation which will produce photo-electric effects.
1926   J. S. Huxley Ess. Pop. Sci. 199   It is needful, not merely that some thyroid secretion should be circulating in the body, but that it should reach a certain definite concentration, a certain ‘threshold value’.
1941   in M. Gowing Brit. & Atomic Energy 1939–45 (1964) 400   Neutrons of less than a certain threshold energy..do not cause fission of 238U.
1959   Listener 26 Nov. 929/1   It is possible that the radiation level has to exceed a critical or threshold value before any genetical effects arise.
1964   W. G. Smith Allergy & Tissue Metabolism ii. 23   The tissue response would depend upon the number of susceptible cells..reached by a threshold concentration of histamine.
1971   J. H. Smith Digital Logic iv. 69   The device is actuated when the input signal crosses a certain ‘threshold’ voltage.
1978   J. Paxton Dict. European Econ. Community (rev. ed.) 46   Imports were kept up to minimum, or threshold, prices by means of variable import levies.

 c. Electronicsthreshold devicethreshold element, etc.: a circuit element having one output and a number of inputs, each of which accepts a binary signal and multiplies it by some factor; the output is 0 or 1 depending on whether or not the sum of the resulting quantities is less than a certain threshold value; threshold function, a Boolean function that can be realized by such an element; threshold logic,threshold switching (based on such elements).

1960   IRE Trans. Electronic Computers 9 122/1   Another useful logical two-state device is a threshold element.
1960   Proc. IRE 48 1335/3   The increasing use of threshold devices such as magnetic cores and parametrons.
1961   IRE Trans. Electronic Computers 10 6/1   Linearly separable switching functions..have been studied under different names, such as..linear-input logic, threshold logic, majority logic, and voting logic.
1961   IRE Trans. Electronic Computers 10 798/2   Elementary threshold functionsi.e., functions that can be implemented by a single threshold circuit, are first characterized for the cases of 2, 3, and 4 variables.
1963   Proc. IFIP Congr. 1962 757/1   A threshold gate determines its output in two steps: a linear summation followed by a discrimination.
1964   H. C. Torng Introd. Logical Design of Switching Syst. viii. 133   Threshold switching devices are..extensively used in pattern recognition systems and perception-like automata.
1970   Z. Kohavi Switching & Finite Automata Theory vii. 183   One of the limitations of threshold logic is its sensitivity to variations in circuit parameters.
1975   N. N. Biswas Introd. Logic & Switching Theory vii. 183   In many cases where the nand or nor realizations may require a number of gates, the threshold logic may realize the function by only one gate.
1978   S. C. Lee Mod. Switching Theory iv. 117   As another simple example of a threshold function, consider f (x1x2x3) = x1x2 + x3.