borderline

adjective
bor·​der·​line | \ ˈbȯr-dər-ˌlīn \

Definition of borderline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : being in an intermediate position or state : not fully classifiable as one thing or its opposite a borderline state between waking and sleeping
b : not quite up to, typical of, or as severe as what is usual, standard, or expected borderline intelligence borderline hypertension
c : characterized by psychological instability in several areas (such as interpersonal relations, behavior, and identity) but only with brief or no psychotic episodes a borderline personality disorder
2 : situated at or near a border a borderline town

borderline

adverb

Definition of borderline (Entry 2 of 2)

: almost, nearly borderline tacky borderline suicidal

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Other Words from borderline

Adjective

borderline noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for borderline

Synonyms: Adjective

frontier, marginal

Synonyms: Adverb

about, all but, almost, fair [chiefly British], fairly, feckly [chiefly Scottish], more or less, most, much, near, nearly, next to, nigh, practically, somewhere, virtually, well-nigh

Antonyms: Adjective

interior

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Examples of borderline in a Sentence

Adjective

In borderline cases like these, the best course of action is difficult to determine. As a borderline diabetic, Lara is able to control her blood sugar levels solely through diet.

Adverb

The movie is only borderline funny. your answer was borderline rude, so I would advise you to be more diplomatic in the future
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Voter fraud as commonly understood — people illegally casting voters — is borderline nonexistent. Dylan Scott, Vox, "There’s election fraud in North Carolina. That’s not the same thing as voter fraud.," 11 Dec. 2018 The guy who was previously borderline inept against right-handed pitching lined a 1-1 cutter from right-hander Drew Rucinski to left field. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' Renfroe again provides late lift in win over Marlins," 9 June 2018 Based on the language above, 22 of those possible penalties were obvious calls, leaving 17 borderline calls. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "The new 'targeting' rule could have affected 24 plays in a single half of a Bengals-Steelers game," 28 Mar. 2018 This morning's outfit—onesie, long-sleeve shirt, socks, overalls—was borderline unmanageable. Kim Fusaro, Woman's Day, "How Am I Supposed To Keep My Baby Warm This Winter?," 28 Oct. 2011 That’s borderline overkill for thinner Ultrabooks and strong enough to add several hours of use to many bulkier 15-inch laptops. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the power user in your life," 4 Dec. 2018 The fact that Trump’s co-partisans decline to restrain him in any way makes the American constitutional system borderline unworkable. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s talk of pardoning Manafort is a clear abuse of power," 29 Nov. 2018 Those efforts help farmers in borderline areas take advantage of climatic shifts. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "A Warming Climate Brings New Crops to Frigid Zones," 25 Nov. 2018 Call the Decision, Part 3 very acceptable, if not borderline exciting. Sean Gregory, Time, "LeBron James' Move to L.A. Will Lift the NBA," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Both teams came out hitting to start Game 2 and the intensity jumped another level after McNabb’s borderline hit on Kuznetsov. Adam Candee, Detroit Free Press, "2018 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Golden Knights-Capitals Game 2 observations," 30 May 2018 In the middle of this, I was tested for gestational diabetes, and the result came back borderline. The Cut, "The Mom Who Faced the Odds of Getting Pregnant at 44," 14 Sep. 2017 There’s no doubting the existence and growing popularity online of conspiratorial—and borderline demented—commentary on Russia. Jeet Heer, New Republic, "No, Liberals Are Not Falling for Conspiracy Theories Just Like Conservatives Do," 23 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'borderline.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of borderline

Adjective

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1925, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for borderline

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for borderline

The first known use of borderline was in 1907

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More Definitions for borderline

borderline

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of borderline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having some but not all characteristics of something

: not quite as severe as what is usual or expected

: existing at or near a border

borderline

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of borderline (Entry 2 of 2)

: almost or nearly

borderline

adjective
bor·​der·​line | \ ˈbȯr-dər-ˌlīn \

Kids Definition of borderline

: not quite average, standard, or normal She's a borderline student for advanced math.

borderline

adjective
bor·​der·​line | \ -ˌlīn\

Medical Definition of borderline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being in an intermediate position or state : not fully classifiable as one thing or its opposite especially : not quite up to what is usual, standard, or expected borderline intelligence
2 : exhibiting typical but not altogether conclusive symptoms a borderline diabetic
3 : of, relating to, being, or exhibiting a behavior pattern typical or suggestive of borderline personality disorder a borderline patient borderline behavior

borderline

noun

Medical Definition of borderline (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person affected with borderline personality disorder

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Comments on borderline

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