\ ˈvərj How to pronounce verge (audio) \

Definition of verge

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : brink, threshold a country on the verge of destruction— Archibald MacLeish
b : something that borders, limits, or bounds: such as
(1) : an outer margin of an object or structural part
(2) : the edge of roof covering (such as tiling) projecting over the gable of a roof
(3) British : a paved or planted strip of land at the edge of a road : shoulder
2a(1) : a rod or staff carried as an emblem of authority or symbol of office
(2) obsolete : a stick or wand held by a person being admitted to tenancy while he swears fealty
b : the spindle of a watch balance especially : a spindle with pallets in an old vertical escapement
c : the male copulatory organ of any of various invertebrates


verb (1)
verged; verging

Definition of verge (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to be contiguous
2 : to be on the verge or border the line where sentiment verges on mawkishness— Thomas Hardy


verb (2)
verged; verging

Definition of verge (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a of the sun : to move or tend toward the horizon : sink
b : to move or extend in some direction or toward some condition verging to a hasty decline— Edward Gibbon
2 : to be in transition or change

Synonyms for verge

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of verge in a Sentence

Noun the suspect was on the verge of confessing when the officers realized that he hadn't been read his rights the southern verge of the national park

First Known Use of verge


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)

Verb (1)

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for verge


Middle English, "rod, measuring rod, margin," borrowed from Anglo-French, "rod, area of jurisdiction," going back to Latin virga "shoot, twig, rod, line,"; perhaps, if going back to *wiz-g-, akin to Old Norse visk "wisp" — more at whisk entry 1

Verb (1)

verbal derivative of verge entry 1

Verb (2)

borrowed from Latin vergere "to move downward, slope downward, sink," going back to Indo-European *h2u̯erg- "turn around, turn (to)," whence also, with varying ablaut and suffixation, Greek eérgō, eérgein (Attic eírgein) "to shut in, keep away, hinder" (conflated with outcomes of *u̯erǵ- "shut in"), Sanskrit (Vedic) vṛṇákti "(s/he) turns," and, as a nominal derivative, Hittite ḫurki- "wheel"

Note: This is the etymological solution preferred by Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2. Auflage, 2001, and M. de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages (Brill, 2008). The laryngeal *h2 is required by the Hittite noun, though the Greek verb then must be explained as the result of vowel assimilation (*au̯erg- to *eu̯erg-). See also wrench entry 1.

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The first known use of verge was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Verge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for verge



English Language Learners Definition of verge

: an area along the edge of a road, path, etc.


\ ˈvərj How to pronounce verge (audio) \

Kids Definition of verge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : threshold sense 2, brink Even when he wasn't smiling, he appeared to be on the verge of doing so …— Kevin Henkes, Olive's Ocean
2 : something that borders, limits, or bounds : edge the verge of a road


verged; verging

Kids Definition of verge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to come near to being This verges on madness.


Medical Definition of verge

— see anal verge

More from Merriam-Webster on verge

Nglish: Translation of verge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verge for Arabic Speakers


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