from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A line that establishes or marks a border.
  • n. An indefinite area intermediate between two qualities or conditions: The borderline between love and hate is often thin.
  • adj. Verging on a given quality or condition: borderline poverty.
  • adj. Of a questionable nature or quality: an applicant with borderline qualifications.
  • adj. Psychology Relating to any phenomenon that is intermediate between two groups and not clearly categorized in either group: a borderline state showing the characteristics of both neurotic and psychotic reactions.
  • adj. Relating to a condition characterized by a pattern of instability in mood, interpersonal relations, and self-image, and manifested by self-destructive, impulsive, and inconsistent behavior: the borderline syndrome.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. nearly; not clearly on one side or the other of a border or boundary, ambiguous.
  • adj. Showing bad taste.
  • n. A boundary or accepted division; a border.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a line that indicates a boundary
  • adj. of questionable or minimal quality


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The term borderline has come into increasing use in the last thirty years, in describing a severe form of psychopathology.

    Clinical Work with Adolescents

  • Kernberg stressed the role of the overabundance of constitutionally predisposed aggression or very early frustration rather than maternal care that color the ways they experience their caretakers as resulting in the development of the intermediate level of structure, which he called borderline personality organization.

    Object Relations Theory and Self Psychology in Social Work Practice

  • When he was eventually caught in 2000 after delivering a particularly eye-opening interview with Christina Ricci and a rival blew the whistle, he refused to say sorry, insisting that he specialised in what he called "borderline journalism".

    The Guardian World News

  • One of the more interesting paths Donoghue sets out to traverse is what she terms the borderline territory of "murkily criminal" lesbian sex as found in mystery and detective fiction.

    Edmonton Sun

  • "The mainstream, or what I call the borderline, bettor isn't interested unless it's strung out," said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of Lucky's sports books.

    Las Vegas Sun Stories: All Sun Headlines

  • Even when black Democratic politicians stumble and engage in borderline corrupt and self-serving feather their own nest antics, they are still regarded as better bets than Republican candidates to be more responsive to black needs.

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Black Republicans Peddle Fantasy of Ousting Democrats in November

  • I don't agree with some of the antics of "fellow hunters" and there are more than a few hunters that engage in borderline poaching, leaving trash, road hunting, wasting game, and you name it.

    If your not going to eat it , why would you shoot a animal?

  • He had a terrible self-image, or perhaps an astute one that he phrased in a comically self-deprecating way (the borderline is hard to distinguish).

    Brief Lives « Tales from the Reading Room

  • Now the feds are rethinking stimulus projects that some call borderline crazy. '

    CNN Transcript Sep 18, 2009

  • This is not to scare people away from IVF, a slight increase in ovarian cancer, but more importantly, an increase in other types of ovarian tumors that are not cancerous or perhaps pre cancerous called borderline tumors of the ovary.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2009


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