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

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

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

All of this unfolds with prose that is borderline stilted and with major and minor plot turns that make little sense. Richard Lipez, Dallas News, "Lisbeth Salander is back -- and angrier than ever," 26 Aug. 2019 The insistence on the part of video game publishers that their works are not political has become borderline comical. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "Column: In the Trump era, can videogames about killing Nazis be just ‘for fun’?," 22 Aug. 2019 Oregon is borderline top 25 at defensive line and linebacker. Christopher Smith, al, "Auburn’s running game will determine the Tigers’ 2019 betting value," 21 Aug. 2019 The tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell was borderline embarrassing all regular season. Garrett Wroblewski/guest Columnist, The Mercury News, "With Pavelski gone, who will lead Sharks into new season and era?," 20 Aug. 2019 Its consistency and efficiency, famously celebrated in a 2012 essay by Atul Gawande, is borderline profound. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The Cheesecake Factory is the restaurant America wants, deserves," 20 Aug. 2019 The former trails the latter badly in innings and strikeouts, though allowing only 10 homers to 548 batters faced in the Year of the Rabbit Ball is borderline incredible, as Morton’s 0.66 homers-per-nine rate is the best mark in the AL. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Awards Watch: No One Is Going to Catch Mike Trout This Year," 5 Aug. 2019 The cost to obtain Marshall was so low because of his squabbles with teammates and arrests for domestic abuse and drunken driving, behavior Marshall later blamed on his borderline-personality disorder. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 86, Brandon Marshall," 12 June 2019 With the sun starting to dip at tree levels, the temperature for the final hour of the first practice was borderline comfortable. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Football practices are here and so is the urgency," 14 Aug. 2019

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.

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

Statistics for borderline

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for borderline

The first known use of borderline was in 1907

See more words from the same year

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

miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!