Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To slope or incline.
  • intransitive verb To tend to move in a particular direction.
  • intransitive verb To pass or merge gradually.
  • noun An edge or margin; a border. synonym: border.
  • noun Architecture The edge of the tiling that projects over a roof gable.
  • noun Chiefly British A grassy border, as along a road.
  • noun The point beyond which an action, state, or condition is likely to begin or occur; the brink.
  • noun A rod, wand, or staff carried as an emblem of authority or office.
  • noun The spindle of a balance wheel in a clock or watch, especially such a spindle in a clock with vertical escapement.
  • noun The male organ of copulation in certain mollusks.
  • intransitive verb To approach the nature or condition of something specified; come close. Used with on.
  • intransitive verb To be on the edge or border.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To border.
  • noun A rod, or something in the form of a rod or staff, carried as an emblem of authority or ensign of office; the mace of a bishop, dean, or other functionary.
  • noun A stick or wand with which persons are admitted tenants, by holding it in the hand, and swearing fealty to the lord. On this account such tenants are called tenants by the verge.
  • noun In architecture: The shaft of a column; a small ornamental shaft, The edge of the tiling projecting over the gable of a roof, that on the horizontal part being called eaves.
  • noun The spindle of the balance-wheel of a watch, especially that of the old vertical movement.
  • noun An accentmark.
  • noun A quantity of land, from 15 to 30 acres; a yard-land; a virgate.
  • noun The extreme side or edge of anything; the brink; edge; border; margin.
  • noun The horizon.
  • noun A boundary; a limit; hence, anything that incloses or bounds, as a ring or circlet.
  • noun The space within a boundary or limit; hence, room; scope; place; opportunity.
  • noun In English law, the compass of the jurisdiction of the Court of Marshalsea, or palace-court.
  • noun In a stocking-frame, a small piece of iron placed in front, of the needle-bar to regulate the position of the needles.
  • noun In anatomy and zoology, the penis, especially that of various invertebrates.
  • noun In horticulture, the grass edging of a bed or border; a slip of grass dividing the walks from the borders in a garden.
  • noun The main beam of the trebuchet, a missile engine used in medieval warfare
  • To bend; slope: as, a hill that verges to the north.
  • To tend; incline; approach; border.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To border upon; to tend; to incline; to come near; to approach.
  • intransitive verb To tend downward; to bend; to slope.
  • noun A rod or staff, carried as an emblem of authority.
  • noun engraving The stick or wand with which persons were formerly admitted tenants, they holding it in the hand, and swearing fealty to the lord. Such tenants were called tenants by the verge.
  • noun (Eng. Law) The compass of the court of Marshalsea and the Palace court, within which the lord steward and the marshal of the king's household had special jurisdiction; -- so called from the verge, or staff, which the marshal bore.
  • noun obsolete A virgate; a yardland.
  • noun A border, limit, or boundary of a space; an edge, margin, or brink of something definite in extent.
  • noun A circumference; a circle; a ring.
  • noun The shaft of a column, or a small ornamental shaft.
  • noun The edge of the tiling projecting over the gable of a roof.
  • noun (Horol.) The spindle of a watch balance, especially one with pallets, as in the old vertical escapement. See under Escapement.
  • noun The edge or outside of a bed or border.
  • noun A slip of grass adjoining gravel walks, and dividing them from the borders in a parterre.
  • noun The penis.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The external male organ of certain mollusks, worms, etc. See Illustration in Appendix.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To be or come very close; to border; to approach.
  • noun A rod or staff of office, e.g. of a verger.

Etymologies

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

[Latin vergere; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English, from Old French, rod, ring, from Latin virga, rod, strip.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin vergō ("to bend, turn, tend toward, incline"), from Proto-Indo-European *werg- (“to turn”), from a root Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to turn, bend”) (compare versus); strongly influenced by the above noun.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French verge ("rod or wand of office"), hence "scope, territory dominated", from Latin virga ("shoot, rod stick"), of unknown origin. Earliest attested sense in English is now-obsolete meaning "male member, penis" (c.1400). Modern sense is from the notion of 'within the verge' (1509, also as Anglo-Norman dedeinz la verge), i.e. "subject to the Lord High Steward's authority" (as symbolized by the rod of office), originally a 12-mile radius round the royal court, which sense shifted to "the outermost edge of an expanse or area."

Examples

  • As far as the definition of being "on the verge" is concerned, I think I prefer a probabilistic story.

    What is a Collapse?, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • This constant shorting on companies that are in production or on the verge is insane.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • This constant shorting on companies that are in production or on the verge is insane.

    Canadian Silver Bug - this weeks stuff

  • Re Diplo's comment about the mower missing presumed dead, the partly mown, or half-cut, verge is becoming common around here.

    On the Verge

  • De Hart said on Thursday their occupation of the verge was a statement to draw attention to their plight.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Very anciently, too, our kings received at their coronations a sceptre for the right hand, surmounted by a _cross_; and for the left, sometimes called the verge, one that terminated in a globe, surmounted by a _dove_.

    Coronation Anecdotes

  • The report, which rates the 200 sites as at risk, under threat and on the verge, which is the most serious, said developing countries are missing out on billions of dollars in tourism revenue and jobs by neglecting cultural heritage sites.

    Reuters: Top News

  • The report, which rates the 200 sites as at risk, under threat and on the verge, which is the most serious, said developing countries are missing out on billions of dollars in tourism revenue and jobs by neglecting cultural heritage sites.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Parked along the verge were the armored shapes of humvees and the occasional hulking, trucklike MRAP.

    Feed for Arabist.net

  • there is usually a projection called the verge = penile papilla.

    Archive 2006-11-01

Comments

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  • Join the conversation on the side of the road.

    August 22, 2009

  • Holmes used this word when he was talking about the most important case of his carrer.

    June 19, 2012