on edge

on edge


  1. a line or border at which a surface terminates: Grass grew along the edges of the road. The paper had deckle edges.
  2. a brink or verge: the edge of a cliff; the edge of disaster.
  3. any of the narrow surfaces of a thin, flat object: a book with gilt edges.
  4. a line at which two surfaces of a solid object meet: an edge of a box.
  5. the thin, sharp side of the blade of a cutting instrument or weapon.
  6. the sharpness proper to a blade: The knife has lost its edge.
  7. sharpness or keenness of language, argument, tone of voice, appetite, desire, etc.: The snack took the edge off his hunger. Her voice had an edge to it.
  8. British Dialect. a hill or cliff.
  9. an improved position; advantage: He gained the edge on his opponent.
  10. Cards.
    1. advantage, especially the advantage gained by being the age or eldest hand.
    2. eldest hand.
  11. Ice Skating. one of the two edges of a skate blade where the sides meet the bottom surface, made sharp by carving a groove on the bottom.
  12. Skiing. one of the two edges on the bottom of a ski that is angled into a slope when making a turn.

verb (used with object), edged, edg·ing.

  1. to put an edge on; sharpen.
  2. to provide with an edge or border: to edge a terrace with shrubbery; to edge a skirt with lace.
  3. to make or force (one’s way) gradually by moving sideways.
  4. Metalworking.
    1. to turn (a piece to be rolled) onto its edge.
    2. to roll (a piece set on edge).
    3. to give (a piece) a desired width by passing between vertical rolls.
    4. to rough (a piece being forged) so that the bulk is properly distributed for final forging.

verb (used without object), edged, edg·ing.

  1. to move sideways: to edge through a crowd.
  2. to advance gradually or cautiously: a car edging up to a curb.

Verb Phrases

  1. edge in, to insert or work in or into, especially in a limited period of time: Can you edge in your suggestion before they close the discussion?
  2. edge out, to defeat (rivals or opponents) by a small margin: The home team edged out the visitors in an exciting finish.


  1. have an edge on, Informal. to be mildly intoxicated with alcoholic liquor: He had a pleasant edge on from the sherry.
  2. on edge,
    1. (of a person or a person’s nerves) acutely sensitive; nervous; tense.
    2. impatient; eager: The contestants were on edge to learn the results.
  3. set one’s teeth on edge. tooth(def 21).


  1. the border, brim, or margin of a surface, object, etc
  2. a brink or vergethe edge of a cliff; the edge of a breakthrough
  3. maths
    1. a line along which two faces or surfaces of a solid meet
    2. a line joining two vertices of a graph
  4. the sharp cutting side of a blade
  5. keenness, sharpness, or urgencythe walk gave an edge to his appetite
  6. force, effectiveness, or incisivenessthe performance lacked edge
  7. dialect
    1. a cliff, ridge, or hillside
    2. (capital)(in place names)Hade Edge
  8. have the edge on or have the edge over to have a slight advantage or superiority (over)
  9. on edge
    1. nervously irritable; tense
    2. nervously excited or eager
  10. set someone’s teeth on edge to make someone acutely irritated or uncomfortable


  1. (tr) to provide an edge or border for
  2. (tr) to shape or trim (the edge or border of something), as with a knife or scissorsto edge a pie
  3. to push (one’s way, someone, something, etc) gradually, esp edgeways
  4. (tr) cricket to hit (a bowled ball) with the edge of the bat
  5. (tr) to tilt (a ski) sideways so that one edge digs into the snow
  6. (tr) to sharpen (a knife, etc)

v.late 13c., “to give an edge to” (implied in past participle egged), from edge (n.). Meaning “to move edgeways (with the edge toward the spectator), advance slowly” is from 1620s, originally nautical. Meaning “to defeat by a narrow margin” is from 1953. The meaning “urge on, incite” (16c.) often must be a mistake for egg (v.). Related: Edged; edging. n.Old English ecg “corner, edge, point,” also “sword” (cf. ecgplega, literally “edge play,” ecghete, literally “edge hate,” both used poetically for “battle”), from Proto-Germanic *agjo (cf. Old Frisian egg “edge;” Old Saxon eggia “point, edge;” Middle Dutch egghe, Dutch eg; Old Norse egg, see egg (v.); Old High German ecka, German Eck “corner”), from PIE root *ak- “sharp, pointed” (cf. Sanskrit asrih “edge,” Latin acies, Greek akis “point;” see acrid). Spelling development of Old English -cg to Middle English -gg to Modern English -dge represents a widespread shift in pronunciation. To get the edge on (someone) is U.S. colloquial, first recorded 1911. Edge city is from Joel Garreau’s 1992 book of that name. Razor’s edge as a perilous narrow path translates Greek epi xyrou akmes. To have (one’s) teeth on edge is from late 14c., though “It is not quite clear what is the precise notion originally expressed in this phrase” [OED]. Tense, nervous, irritable, as in We were all on edge as we waited for the surgeon’s report. This expression transfers the edge of a cutting instrument to one’s feelings. [Late 1800s] Also see on the edge; set one’s teeth on edge. In addition to the idioms beginning with edge

  • edge in
  • edge out
  • also see:

  • cutting edge
  • get a word in edgewise
  • have the edge on
  • on edge
  • on the edge
  • over the edge
  • set one’s teeth on edge
  • take the edge off
  • thin edge of the wedge
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