: point, apex: such as
: a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next) : turning point
also : edge, verge
on the cusp of stardom
… you're on the cusp between heat exhaustion and life-threatening heatstroke. Mark Jannot
: either horn of a crescent moon
: a fixed point on a mathematical curve at which a point tracing the curve would exactly reverse its direction of motion
: an ornamental pointed projection formed by or arising from the intersection of two arcs or foils (see foil entry 2 sense 4)
: a point on the grinding surface of a tooth
: a fold or flap of a cardiac valve
cuspate adjective
cusped adjective

Illustration of cusp

Illustration of cusp
  • 1 cusp d

Example Sentences

the cusp of a tooth medical researchers who are on the cusp of a major breakthrough
Recent Examples on the Web Now, the Trojans are on the cusp of their longest streak since winning 11 in a row in 1995. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 3 Dec. 2022 In six years, the Illinois prep star has gone from walk-on to all-conference selection and now on the cusp of joining Mike Phipps and Drew Brees as the Boilermakers only Big Ten-winning quarterbacks since 1953. Michael Marot, Chicago Tribune, 2 Dec. 2022 Michigan Democrats' longstanding quest to become one of the party's early primary states is on the cusp of fruition. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 2 Dec. 2022 The team entered the blind bid for Abreu but fell just short of the White Sox, and the team was on the cusp of signing Turner to a minor league deal before his hometown Dodgers swooped in at the 11th hour with a major league offer. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Nov. 2022 With the big band era in full swing in 1939, Louise Tobin, a vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra, was on the cusp of nationwide fame. Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times, 27 Nov. 2022 Over the course of modern history, the Buckeyes stand alone as college football’s recession-proof brand, immune to significant downturns and always on the cusp of contention. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2022 On the cusp of the release of their career-changing album Death of a Bachelor in January 2016, Panic! Taylor Weatherby, Billboard, 23 Nov. 2022 In the House of Delegates, the Democratic caucus added two seats to last year’s supermajority of 99, and were on the cusp of adding a third as votes were tallied in Howard County. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Latin cuspis point

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cusp was in 1585

Dictionary Entries Near cusp

Cite this Entry

“Cusp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cusp. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


: a point or pointed end or part: as
: either of the pointed ends of a crescent moon
: a point on the grinding surface of a tooth
: a fold or flap of a heart valve

Medical Definition


: a point on the grinding surface of a tooth
: a fold or flap of a cardiac valve
cuspal adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on cusp

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