subliminal

[suhb-lim-uh-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:
1885–90; sub- + Latin līmin- (stem of līmen) threshold + -al1

subliminally, adverb
nonsubliminal, adjective
nonsubliminally, adverb
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
subliminal (sʌbˈlɪmɪnəl)
 
adj
1.  resulting from processes of which the individual is not aware
2.  (of stimuli) less than the minimum intensity or duration required to elicit a response
 
[C19: from Latin sub- below + līmen threshold]
 
sub'liminally
 
adv

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

subliminal
1886, "below the threshold" (of consciousness), formed from sub "below" + L. limen (gen. liminis) "threshold." Apparently a loan-translation of Ger. unter der Schwelle (des Bewusstseins) "beneath the threshold (of consciousness)," from Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841), author of a textbook on psychology
published in 1824. The scare over subliminal advertising came in 1957.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

subliminal sub·lim·i·nal (sŭb-lĭm'ə-nəl)
adj.

  1. Below the threshold of conscious perception. Used of stimuli.

  2. Inadequate to produce conscious awareness but able to evoke a response.


sub·lim'i·nal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
What guests get, and by all accounts are subliminally attracted to, is an
  environment where nothing is left to chance.
And another rather more subliminally but still legibly on the top shelf.
For some students, the screen also flashed an additional set of words so
  briefly that they could only be detected subliminally.
Comparison with existing parental attachment measures and a subliminally primed
  lexical decision task was also conducted.
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