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I've encountered this expression in DBZ Abridged, and I haven't encountered it anywhere else, save for occasional use on some forums. The context is the following:

"For God's sake, I bet even your father can do it--he's just not stupid enough to try! And as we've seen today, that threshold is vast."

I'm infering from this that the speaker is implying that the addressee's father is indeed very stupid, making the addressee's stupidity even more appalling. But I have no idea why the word "threshold" is used here, and how can one be vast - considering a threshold is usually a singular point or line, not something wide. Any help?

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Let me make it clear that, that threshold is vast is not an idiom or a well known phrase. Those are just group of words.

First, let us understand both of the words threshold and vast.

threshold Oxford Dictionaries:

The magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.

vast Oxford Dictionaries:

Of very great extent or quantity; immense.

So, when you say that threshold is vast, it means that someone/something has immense reaction, or higher sensitivity or higher response rate or * very sensitive towards feelings*.

For example,

"Note that a dog's pain threshold is vast compared to a humans, so you may really have to spend some time examining closely. Use your eyes more than your hands -- attempt not to hurt the dog more. * Does this whining result in you responding a certain way."

Means, dogs are very sensitive than that of humans in perceiving pain.

Hope it is clear now!

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Your inference is correct, a threshold can indeed be a singular line or point, but consider definition 1a of threshold according to Macmillan Dictionary.

a level at which something happens. For example, your hearing threshold is the level of sound that you can hear, and your pain threshold is the level of pain that you can feel without suffering or complaining

In the example given in the definition there is a range because everyone's pain threshold is different. Hence vast can also be used to describe a threshold.

  • Ok, then how to put this whole expression into different words? – spiffles Aug 23 '18 at 16:39
  • google.pt/… – bookmanu Aug 23 '18 at 16:47
  • I know what a "vast threshold" is, but what does it mean when someone says "that threshold is vast" seemingly out of the blue? – spiffles Aug 23 '18 at 16:54
  • I guess "his limits of stupidity are wide"? What happened with the father earlier? - "as we've seen today" – bookmanu Aug 23 '18 at 16:59
  • Who is Trunks' father? – bookmanu Aug 23 '18 at 17:07
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You must consider that not all lines have zero breadth. Often times, you may begin entering into something and yet have to travel a great distance before you've actually entered into it.

Consider the English Channel. If you are coming from France, it is the threshold to Great Britain. Crossing that threshold into Great Britain is at the very minimum, an 18-mile seafaring journey. Maybe 18 miles is vast, maybe not. But that nonetheless illustrates that crossing a threshold isn't necessarily instantaneous, can require one to breach a distance, a distance that can, depending on the situation, be "vast."

So what the speaker is saying in that quote is that even from the point that being stupid starts, the point at which people begin to cross over into stupidity, they still have a long way to go before getting as stupid as that father.

  • Thanks, that last paragraph is indeed a bit enlightening. Though the fact that the father is in fact said to be NOT stupid enough to do something makes it all the more confusing. – spiffles Aug 23 '18 at 18:23

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