1. the edge, rim, or margin of something: the verge of a desert; to operate on the verge of fraud.
  2. the limit or point beyond which something begins or occurs; brink: on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  3. a limiting belt, strip, or border of something.
  4. British. a narrow strip of turf bordering on a pathway, sidewalk, roadway, etc.
  5. a decorative border, as on or around an object, structural part, etc.
  6. limited room or scope for something: an action within the verge of one’s abilities.
  7. an area or district subject to a particular jurisdiction.
  8. History/Historical. an area or district in England embracing the royal palace, being the jurisdiction of the Marshalsea Court.
  9. the part of a sloping roof that projects beyond the gable wall.
  10. Architecture. the shaft of a column or colonette.
  11. a rod, wand, or staff, especially one carried as an emblem of authority or of the office of a bishop, dean, or the like.
  12. Horology. a palletlike lever formerly used in inexpensive pendulum clocks.
  13. Obsolete. a stick or wand held in the hand of a person swearing fealty to a feudal lord on being admitted as a tenant.

verb (used without object), verged, verg·ing.

  1. to be on the edge or margin; border: Our property verges on theirs.
  2. to come close to or be in transition to some state, quality, etc. (usually followed by on): a statesman who verged on greatness; a situation that verged on disaster.

verb (used with object), verged, verg·ing.

  1. to serve as the verge or boundary of: a high hedge verging the yard.

verb (used without object), verged, verg·ing.

  1. to incline; tend (usually followed by to or toward): The economy verges toward inflation.
  2. to slope or sink.


  1. an edge or rim; margin
  2. a limit beyond which something occurs; brinkon the verge of ecstasy
  3. British a grass border along a road
  4. an enclosing line, belt, or strip
  5. architect the edge of the roof tiles projecting over a gable
  6. architect the shaft of a classical column
  7. an enclosed space
  8. horology the spindle of a balance wheel in a vertical escapement, found only in very early clocks
  9. English legal history
    1. the area encompassing the royal court that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Lord High Steward
    2. a rod or wand carried as a symbol of office or emblem of authority, as in the Church
    3. a rod held by a person swearing fealty to his lord on becoming a tenant, esp of copyhold land


  1. (intr foll by on) to be near (to)to verge on chaos
  2. (when intr, sometimes foll by on) to serve as the edge of (something)this narrow strip verges the road


  1. (intr; foll by to or towards) to move or incline in a certain direction

“edge, rim,” mid-15c., 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 (c.1500, also as Anglo-French 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 king’s court. Sense shifted to “the outermost edge of an expanse or area.” Meaning “point at which something happens” (as in on the verge of) is first attested c.1600. “A very curious sense development.” [Weekley]


“tend, incline,” c.1600, from Latin vergere “to bend, turn, tend toward, incline,” from PIE *werg- “to turn,” from root *wer- (3) “to turn, bend” (see versus). Much influenced by verge (n.) in its verbal form meaning “to be adjacent to” (1787). Related: Verged; verging.


  1. The extreme edge or margin; a border.

In addition to the idiom beginning with verge

  • verge on

also see:

  • on the verge of

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