In an algorithm I'm using a threshold to discard certain data samples.

The industry refers to this practice as thresholding, which is a neologism and not regarded as an actual word in the English language as far as I know.

Nevertheless, how would I say that thresholding has been applied to something in short form?

Would "This value was thresholded in the previous stage." be acceptable? Is there a better option that could be used in place of "thresholded"?

  • 3
    "threshold" works well as a minimum for me(those beyond a certain point are within a set)... less so as a maximum. Perhaps for both ends, "range constrained" might be an alternative. That being said, communication is so often about your audience. If you are talking to people familiar with a certain industry jargon, the using the term peers commonly use would be a better choice than something with better general language grammar but less clear to them.(although I'm sure many on this forum might disagree with me on that point)
    – Tom22
    Jul 3 '17 at 15:15
  • 1
    It might depend on how you are using the thresholds. For example this might be equivalent to capping or grouping or perhaps even rounding (up/down). Jul 3 '17 at 17:00
  • 1
    If grouping is what you're doing, the you might prefer aggregated over grouped. Jul 3 '17 at 17:17
  • 1
    " In the previous stage, values not meeting the threshold were discarded."
    – Xanne
    Jul 3 '17 at 20:23
  • 1
    Thresholded is more specific but tested, checked or filtered are less outlandish. Jul 13 '17 at 19:19

This value was thresholded in the previous stage.

If this is an accepted neologism in your current context (e.g. at your company), and the document which contains this sentence is intended for people who work at your company, then you can simply use the neologism.

Localized definitions can override general English definitions, as long as you observe the correct context (i.e. one where the localized definition applies).

I would suggest adding a small dictionary to the document; which further explains the meaning of "thresholding". However, that is a matter of good practice and work ethic, which goes beyond the scope of English.SE.

However, if you are communicating something to a larger context (e.g. people who do not work at your company), then I would suggest finding alternatives. I'll list a few I can think of.

Truncated, as mentioned in another answer, is a good alternative. However, it is not the value that is truncated, but the list of values.

This value was truncated in the previous stage. (wrong)
The list of values was truncated in the previous stage (right)

Trimmed is similar to truncated. It is an established term in programming; but its figurative use should be understandable without any specific technical knowledge.
The same rule applies as with "truncated": It is the list that is trimmed, not the value itself.

The list of values was trimmed in the previous stage.

Continuing with the figurative description of "trimming a list", pruned would also work. While technically correct, I am not a big fan of this option. It sounds just a bit too contrived, and it distracts from the actual topic of conversation.

The list of values was pruned in the previous stage.

Omitted also works. It means that you have intentionally dropped these values and will no longer refer to them.

This value was omitted in the previous stage.

However, it could possible mean that this value was omitted only for this specific stage, which is not the case for you. So I would suggest phrasing it differently, to prevent this ambiguity:

This value has been omitted since the previous stage.

This alternate phrasing makes sure to convey that the omission of this value is permanent, not temporary.


You could use truncate here if you are limiting values beyond a threshold extreme.

truncate, verb: shorten (something) by cutting off the top or the end. "a truncated cone shape" (Ref.)


"This data was truncated in the previous stage."

This word is commonly used in mathematics to refer to the removal of higher order terms or decimal values beyond a certain precision.

Some other suggested synonyms for truncate from same reference:




  • You've used a slightly different example than the OP, so it seems relevant to mention that it would be wrong to say that "The value was truncated", and more correct to say that "The list was truncated" (= values were removed from it). "Truncating a value" means that you change the value, not omit it from the list entirely.
    – Flater
    Jul 4 '17 at 9:33


get rid of (someone or something) as no longer useful or desirable.

Of course, that word doesn't convey why the value was discarded.

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