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A transitional or indeterminate state between culturally defined stages of a person's life; spec. such a state occupied during a ritual or rite of passage, characterized by a sense of solidarity between participants.

The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed - a situation which can lead to new perspectives.

People, places, or things may not complete a transition, or a transition between two states may not be fully possible. Those who remain in a state between two other states may become permanently liminal.

See also


  1. "liminal", Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. OED Online Oxford University Press. Accessed June 23, 2007; cf. subliminal.
  2. "Liminality and Communitas", in "The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure" (New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction Press, 2008).
  3. Victor Turner, "Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage", in Religion. Macmillan Reference USA/Gale Group. 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-22.