borderline

adjective
bor·​der·​line | \ ˈbȯr-dər-ˌlīn How to pronounce borderline (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from borderline

Adjective

borderline noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for borderline

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Collins, who led the Big Ten with 19.7 yards per catch in 2019 (37 receptions for 729 yards and seven touchdowns), has long been considered a borderline Day 2 pick. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "As Pro Days wind down, potential Ravens prospects rise and fall," 7 Apr. 2021 And while not everyone has her nose for legal research or her borderline-photographic memory for statutes, the focused, indefatigable nature of advocacy is replicable. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "How Housing Activists Took on Philadelphia and Won," 29 Mar. 2021 Still, employees mostly respected him for his deep, borderline obsessive love of books and of his business. Madison Malone Kircher, Vulture, "How the Strand Lost Its Workers," 19 Mar. 2021 This segment simply amounted to Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly making borderline-criminal threats to one another before leaving to carry them out. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, "WWE NXT Results: Winners, News And Notes On March 17, 2021," 18 Mar. 2021 Sam Bigelow, director of college counseling at Middlesex School in Concord, Mass., said some underrepresented students may get a boost without borderline test scores holding them back. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "College Admission Season Is Crazier Than Ever. That Could Change Who Gets In.," 16 Mar. 2021 But now, Katie Holmes is bringing us back down to earth, making a strong case for arguably the most effortless hair color of all: a borderline-black shade of dark brown that's the polar opposite of bright, sunny warm-weather highlights. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Katie Holmes’ New Hair Color For Spring? Groundbreaking.," 12 Mar. 2021 Rhodes not only proved those doubters wrong but delivered a borderline Pro Bowl season while playing all 16 games. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insiders: Colts GM Chris Ballad's best and worst free agent signings," 6 Mar. 2021 Every degree increase in the global average temperature results in roughly 1 billion people living in borderline uninhabitable conditions, many without the means to afford cooling technology. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Dressing for a Hotter Planet: In Dubai, Designers Face an Uncertain Future With Creativity," 4 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Fringe-y/borderline/ticking-time-bomb people are always out there and probably have active imaginations that go way beyond what sometimes pops up in movies. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Reporter Film Critics Debate: Does 'Joker' Have a Problematic Punchline?," 1 Oct. 2019 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.

See More

First Known Use of borderline

Adjective

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1925, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about borderline

Time Traveler for borderline

Time Traveler

The first known use of borderline was in 1907

See more words from the same year

Statistics for borderline

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Borderline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/borderline. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce borderline (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on borderline

What made you want to look up borderline? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!