Definition of edge in English:



  • 1The outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something.

    ‘a willow tree at the water's edge’
    figurative ‘these measures are merely tinkering at the edges of a wider issue’
    • ‘In the evening, deer may be seen drinking at the water's edge.’
    • ‘I found a tree toward the edges of the outside area, and sat cross-legged, before unzipping my guitar bag.’
    • ‘They should have only about a foot of the natural floor showing around the outside edges.’
    • ‘A handful of sharpshooters already line the outer edge of the roof.’
    • ‘The road direct from Middleton is steep and narrow, with the road surface breaking away at the edges due to water erosion in places.’
    • ‘Arranged at the outer edges of the bed, the specimen acts as part of your framework for your design.’
    • ‘And he's constructed water-resistant decking from the patio to the water's edge.’
    • ‘The center was not as lit as the outside edges were.’
    • ‘These can be used for the outside edges of your walkway without having to be trimmed first.’
    • ‘The trim was stitched close to the inside edge then the outside edge.’
    • ‘To prevent movement of the metal within the joint, a small bead of silicone sealant can be applied near the outside edges of the T flanges.’
    • ‘Tyler threw himself up in rage and gripped the edge of his bed.’
    • ‘The long, flexible prongs are placed around the outside edges of the shoe to improve stability and traction and to provide a cushion while you walk.’
    • ‘A shape was rising up out of the swamp, just outside the edges of the city.’
    • ‘I playfully shot back, still guiding my horse along the water's edge.’
    • ‘He gripped the edge of the bed and sweat was already starting to run.’
    • ‘Moving to the edge of the small clearing, I peered through the trees.’
    • ‘You can even add a stenciled cut-out design around the edge of the box.’
    • ‘Secure the layers with pins, smoothing the fabric from the center to the outside edges.’
    • ‘He skirted the western edge of the Lake and followed the well-worn path through the woods.’
    border, boundary, extremity, fringe
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    1. 1.1 An area next to a steep drop.
      ‘the cliff edge’
      • ‘He jumped away from it, off the edge of a steep cliff, from which he now knew he may simply fall forever and never hit the ground.’
      • ‘The area was near the edge of a cliff but it was far enough to not be considered any danger.’
      • ‘On the third morning of his trek across the mountains, he found himself on the edge of a steep cliff, with a drop of several hundred feet before him.’
      • ‘I am not truly on the edge of a precipice, she reassured herself.’
      • ‘The forest had dissolved into a clearing near the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the sparkling lake.’
      • ‘At one point it narrowed dangerously as it bordered the edge of a steep cliff.’
      • ‘Standing on the edge of cliffs that drop suddenly, it's easy to imagine that this is the world's brink.’
      • ‘She took one last look over her shoulder at the building before dropping off the edge off the cliff into the water below.’
      • ‘Hunter picked up a pebble and dropped it over the edge of the cliff, watching it fall to the ocean.’
      • ‘They found the man standing right by the steepest edge like he was ready to jump off.’
      • ‘Walking in silence until the reached the edge of the cliff that over looked the waters below.’
      • ‘The latter pastime, of jumping into the sea from cliff edges, is called tombstoning by the people who do it, but ‘bloody stupid’ by onlookers.’
      • ‘The pool itself is fed by a cascade dropping off the edge of a fern-covered cliff.’
      • ‘He decided to pull himself back from the cliff edge.’
      • ‘These waves are also hurling boulders as much as 50 metres back from cliff edges in Orkney and Shetland.’
      • ‘They stood at the edge of a precipice, made from of broken concrete.’
      • ‘I spring to the edge, drop to my hands and knees, and peer over the rim.’
      • ‘She skirted the cliff edge, and the squared up against the man.’
      • ‘I reached the edge of the cliff and flopped down onto the soft grass.’
      • ‘The island's main pull, however, is its bird life and sea views, which you get to via pathways, stairways, tunnels and dangerous cliff edges.’
    2. 1.2in singular The point or state immediately before something unpleasant or momentous occurs.
      ‘the economy was teetering on the edge of recession’
      • ‘The speed and tension of city life has him at the edge of psychosis: something has to give, there has to be a safety valve.’
      • ‘We never learn from our mistakes and we are all, at any moment, standing at the edge of chaos.’
      • ‘It's partly the strained atmosphere in Japan at this moment, with the whole nation poised on the edge of a financial crash.’
      brink, threshold, point, dawn
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  • 2The sharpened side of the blade of a cutting implement or weapon.

    ‘a knife with a razor-sharp edge’
    • ‘Circular blades formed blade breakers on either side of the flare, their outer edges sharpened.’
    • ‘Because of their sinuous edges and thick blades, these knives tended to rip and tear materials.’
    • ‘A gasp escaped from him as the sword's razor edge sliced through his left shoulder.’
    • ‘With a gasp, he lands on the blades, feeling their edges bite into the soles of his boots.’
    • ‘The steel, because it held a good sharp edge was employed on the edges of the blade, with the relatively softer iron making up the bulk of the core of the blade.’
    • ‘The knife has been described as having a six or seven-inch blade with a jagged edge down one side only.’
    • ‘Sticky sap and grime cause dull blade edges, which make poor cuts.’
    • ‘It is believed that the knife had a three-inch blade with a serrated edge.’
    • ‘Its blade was five feet long and golden, with jagged edges on the sides of the blade.’
    • ‘That means they can be used on the edges of razor blades for a smoother cut.’
    • ‘The only thing she had to do was stay away from any blades' edges.’
    • ‘When she stopped blowing, it emerged a new, clean shape, the blade twisting with curling edges, designed to rip rather than cut.’
    • ‘As she arrived, Silveria left to a separate table to allow them to block his blade's razor edge.’
    • ‘The edges of the blade would then be tempered in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.’
    1. 2.1 The line along which two surfaces of a solid meet.
      • ‘The epidermis then spreads around the embryo until its edges finally meet along the ventral midline.’
      • ‘Also, the border plates that make up the periphery of the shells have jagged outer edges.’
      • ‘I instructed them to remove the template and smooth the outside edges of the clay with their fingers.’
      • ‘Another of the carpenters sat smoothing the ragged edges with a patch piece sitting near by.’
      boundary, boundary line, limit, border, borderline, bound, bounding line, frontier, partition, demarcation line, dividing line, end point, cut-off point, termination, pale, margin, perimeter, periphery, rim, extremity, fringe, threshold
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    2. 2.2in singular An intense, sharp, or striking quality.
      ‘a flamenco singer brings a primitive edge to the music’
      ‘she was still smiling, but there was an edge to her voice’
      • ‘They play old-school video game theme music with a metal edge, and distribute their tunes for free on the Web.’
      • ‘They wrote with an intensity and a biting edge which was unusual in intellectual discourse hitherto.’
      • ‘Lyon's portrayal of Bertozzo's madness is somewhat heavyhanded, but he brings a feisty edge to the play's dynamics.’
      • ‘For all his charm, his generosity, that deep, rasping cackle that rumbles through his conversation, he has a sharp edge.’
      • ‘That was much more to do with electronic/sequenced music with a live edge.’
      • ‘The Frenchman, still wearing the No 7 from his Manchester United heyday, has charisma but also an edge of menace.’
      • ‘The people who loved them told me that the person in question appreciated edgy music with a quirky edge.’
      • ‘Comedy or satire has to be slightly nasty, have a sharp edge to it.’
      • ‘Murray's little big band performs John Coltrane music with an edge.’
      sharpness, severity, bite, sting, pointedness, asperity, pungency, mordancy, acerbity, acidity, tartness, trenchancy
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  • 3A quality or factor that gives superiority over close rivals or competitors.

    ‘the veal had the edge on flavor’
    • ‘Its quick reaction time and high rate of fire gives the Indian Army an edge during low intensity war-like situations.’
    • ‘Starting in the 1970s, the government imposed regulations to give an edge to local lenders.’
    • ‘Concrete reasoning gives you the edge over your peers and rivals.’
    • ‘The responses to the query as to whether Bangalore has lost its edge are along similar lines.’
    • ‘This time round, the immediacy and breadth of much internet coverage has, for news junkies, already given it the edge over TV and print.’
    • ‘He is expected to have the edge over his three rivals.’
    • ‘That's good news for gun dealers, who are always looking for an edge to boost business and increase profits.’
    • ‘It has just sharpened their edge for the championship ahead.’
    • ‘The only comparable medium could be film, but I do think music has the edge.’
    • ‘The summit will challenge the notion that ethics and spirituality blunt the competitive edge.’
    • ‘Six years away from the pressurised tracks of Europe doesn't seem to have blunted his competitive edge.’
    • ‘In this edition, Marines looks at new technologies and the never ending desire of Marines to sharpen their individual edges.’
    • ‘But there is more pressure for the school leaver to have a competitive edge in the job market.’
    • ‘Yes, I'd even say it has the edge over London - no offense of course.’
    • ‘The Tarentaise qualities give it an edge over all other breeds when it comes to survival and fitness.’
    • ‘With both sets of defences holding the edge over the opposing attackers, the opening twenty minutes was a dead affair.’
    • ‘Things are getting easier for sure, but you still have to come with tight music and a creative edge, that's for sure.’
    • ‘Over the same time, New South Wales also lost its leading edge in environmental policy.’
    • ‘After that, modern equipment gave a company the edge over others.’
    • ‘We are constantly looking for improvements that will give us the edge over our competition.’
    advantage, lead, head, head start, trump card, the whip hand
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  • 1with object Provide with a border or edge.

    ‘the pool is edged with paving’
    • ‘A smooth border edges the mainspring housing and front of the grip strap to reduce drag and snag when carried concealed under.’
    • ‘Both sections were edged by a gray, consistent border.’
    • ‘Though they still traveled the same road, they had left the long line of trees that edged it.’
    • ‘Both the dense forest interiors and the fringes edging peat swamps are favoured.’
    • ‘Raffael offers a partial view of a pool edged by rocks with brush hanging over the water.’
    • ‘In addition, the borders surrounding the central lawn are edged with one-foot squares of flagstone.’
    • ‘Perhaps he did not attend the public meeting last week where we were told that the development would be 94 yards from the line of trees edging Windmill Lane.’
    • ‘A gravel driveway provides parking and the lawn is edged with several well stocked beds.’
    • ‘One of my favourite ways to edge a garden is to use an herb border.’
    • ‘You can still see the line of the canal where it edges the massacre site.’
    border, fringe, rim, verge, skirt, be alongside
    trim, pipe, band, decorate, finish
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  • 2Move gradually, carefully, or furtively in a particular direction.

    no object ‘she tried to edge away from him’
    with object ‘Hazel quietly edged him away from the others’
    ‘Nick edged his way through the crowd’
    • ‘Charles cautiously edged away from the source of the noise; he wasn't going to take any chances.’
    • ‘Hell, it felt like a rolling ocean, the waves slowly edging back out to sea.’
    • ‘He smiled as he edged his way between her and the exit.’
    • ‘I walked for a while, until I saw the water edging closer even through my low hung head.’
    • ‘The vast open landscape and the sheer enormity of the view triggered panic as I edged my way down, but at the same time took my breath away.’
    • ‘Pulling her hair up into a ponytail she edged her way out of the bathroom.’
    • ‘I edged my way to the opening in the canvas and silently watched the figures outside.’
    • ‘I slowly edged my way upstairs and went to her room.’
    • ‘Traffic was blocked for a few minutes, until a woman in an SUV edged her way through and shouted her displeasure.’
    • ‘‘Oh really,’ sighed Mary, the tedium evident as she edged her way backwards.’
    • ‘As the crowd surged away from yet another fizzing banger, we edged our way out of the square and ran for the cover of our hotel.’
    • ‘A great cloud of fishy, chippy steam rushed out to welcome me and I edged my way in to find the place packed with people waiting for hot, fresh food.’
    • ‘Charlie got up from her seat and casually edged her way to the back of the yard.’
    • ‘We edged our way over like a pack of curious stray dogs.’
    • ‘The garden door led to a small passageway down the side of a shed at the end of the short garden and Mike cautiously edged his way up.’
    • ‘The lights came back on, the floor started to hum, and the elevator edged upward.’
    • ‘She edged her way around and asked what was happening.’
    • ‘He carefully edged his way to her and took her hand in his.’
    • ‘He looked at the griffon and edged nearer to hear what was going on.’
    • ‘Her eyes got wide and she slowly edged out the door.’
    creep, inch, inch one's way, worm, worm one's way, work, work one's way, pick one's way, nose, nose one's way, ease, ease oneself, ease one's way, advance slowly
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    1. 2.1US informal with object Defeat by a small margin.
      ‘Connecticut avoided an upset and edged Yale 49–48’
      • ‘For the second time this season at Spotland stadium Oldham were edged out by one point against fierce local rivals Rochdale Hornets.’
      • ‘Then they were edged out 3-2 by visitors Baildon Trinity.’
      • ‘The pair raced bumper to bumper down the quarter-mile, but Hembey edged Pearson at the line, 10.91 to 10.92.’
      • ‘They were edged out of a place in the quarterfinals in a close group as Milan and Real Madrid went through.’
      • ‘In the final game of the day, Kay scored three more, but MIM were edged out 7-6 in a thrilling victory for Grange.’
      • ‘Louisburgh were edged out by Ballinrobe in the division 2 play-off and must face into another season in the lower division.’
      • ‘If, as seems more likely, they should win their home games, but lose in Dortmund, they could still be edged out of the play-offs by Iceland.’
      • ‘This week the Saints kept their perfect league record intact - barely - by edging the Sentinel Spartans 60-58.’
      • ‘He has plugged away and after edging Australian Quinten Hann in a marathon last-eight contest on Friday, was preparing himself to muscle up to the undoubted dark horse, Gray.’
      • ‘The Warriors gained on McMaster for second-place last Wednesday night, edging the Marauders 69-62.’
      • ‘Wanderers are edged out 3-2 at Spurs after hot-shot Ricketts opens the scoring watched by Sven Goran-Eriksson.’
      • ‘Little separated the sides on the day with Portlaoise just edging out the home side.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the league continued with Clifton Ladies edging home 5-4 over York University Staff Club in Ladies Division One.’
      • ‘Before the contest, the Italians had prevailed in just two encounters, beating Scotland in Rome in 2000 and last year edging Wales 30-22 on home soil.’
      • ‘Eastman opened the Souris tourney Friday night edging the host Cougars 2-1 as Tyler Bram had both Eastman markers.’
      • ‘Honourable mentions should also go to the French full-back Serge Blanco and American athlete Michael Johnson, who were edged out by Rives and Moses.’
      • ‘Wigan proved there is life after Andy Farrell by edging arch-rivals St Helens in front of a record Super League crowd of 25,004 at the JJB Stadium.’
      • ‘City were edged out of the play-off places by the Swindon loss last week.’
      • ‘The Warriors won both games, blanking the Guelph Gryphons 3-0 and edging the Western Mustangs 3-1.’
  • 3with object Give an intense or sharp quality to.

    ‘the bitterness that edged her voice’
    • ‘‘I had to, she was going to hurt herself,’ he responded, steel edging his voice.’
    • ‘‘You are slightly late for once,’ he said, sarcasm edging his voice.’
    • ‘‘I think… I think that they are going to execute Darrius,’ she responded, worry edging her voice.’
    • ‘Her voice was suddenly edged with anxiety, as if she too felt as if something was wrong.’
    • ‘Sarcasm edged his voice and he turned back to the lesson only to be interrupted by the low buzz of someone's cell phone.’
    • ‘He'd lost the impatience that had edged his voice just moments before.’
    • ‘His voice was edged with pain, and I saw that he was struggling to keep his mask of self-assurance on.’
    • ‘Her voice was edged with more seriousness than usual.’
    • ‘Sabrina was trying hard to be kind, Kris could tell, but her voice was edged with annoyance.’
    • ‘‘The next shot won't miss,’ she assured him, malice edging her voice.’
  • 4no object Ski with one's weight on the edges of one's skis.

    • ‘Although it seems like skating uphill requires more edging, more pushing back and lots of grunting, focus on forward motion of your core and maximizing glide.’


  • on edge

    • Tense, nervous, or irritable.

      ‘never had she felt so on edge before an interview’
      • ‘The Democrats are daring to hope and the Republicans are testy and on edge.’
      • ‘She couldn't help but notice that he looked a little on edge, as if he was nervous or something.’
      • ‘So, people are on edge and are a little puzzled as to exactly what comes next and what's happening at the moment.’
      • ‘For the time being I'm still slightly on edge, expecting to be disturbed.’
      • ‘Recent events have kept the world on edge, the threat of terrorism a constant hot-button topic.’
      • ‘That sort of conversation puts me terribly on edge, though, because it feels so patronizing.’
      • ‘It is very sad that because of such strikes, the health sector remains on edge, deep tensions dividing it.’
      • ‘We were all on edge with the sort of nervous energy needed to focus the mind.’
      • ‘I guess you can see that this whole political scenario has me a bit on edge.’
      • ‘The sports community, and ethicists in general, are understandably on edge.’
      tense, nervous, edgy, highly strung, anxious, apprehensive, uneasy, ill at ease, unsettled, unstable
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  • on the edge of one's seat

    • informal Very excited and giving one's full attention to something.

      • ‘The audience is left guessing right up until the very end and you are just on the edge of your seat.’
      • ‘This action packed film has style, humour and is full of stunts which will keep you on the edge of your seat.’
      • ‘Conor is a fantastic writer and the script really keeps you on the edge of your seat.’
      • ‘The new heist is more elaborate than the first one and has enough excitement to leave you on the edge of your seat.’
      • ‘Be part of the drama and on the edge of your seat in this entertaining and thought-provoking event.’
      • ‘You find yourself on the edge of your seat, rooting for the show's cast and yelling at the TV to tell them what they should be doing.’
      • ‘If this scene were in a book, would I be laughing or on the edge of my seat with excitement and terror?’
      • ‘So I spent another four years of sleepless nights and days on the edge of my seat, hoping against hope that she would not crack and provide the secret that would allow them to get to us.’
      • ‘Imagine if telenovelas grabbed your heart and squeezed, kept you on the edge of your seat with real psychological insight and real human drama rather than sentiment, cliched suspense, and melodrama.’
      • ‘And her encounter will keep you on the edge of your seat.’
      anxious, impatient, waiting with bated breath, longing, yearning, aching, wishing, hoping, hopeful, thirsty, hungry, greedy
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  • set someone's teeth on edge

    • (especially of an unpleasantly harsh sound) cause someone to feel intense discomfort or irritation.

      ‘a grating that set her teeth on edge’
      • ‘A similar thing happens to many humans - as soon as you detect the excruciating high-pitched whine of a dentist's drill, it sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘This assumed connection between the sleeping and feeding habits of infants, and the parents' willingness to apply the appropriate degree of discipline, always sets my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Some owls screech and scream their heads off, setting your teeth on edge and jangling your nerves.’
      • ‘I hate beginning Monday mornings with the kind of irritation that sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to shout at the person concerned.’
      • ‘Every sound that filtered through the snow-laden branches set his teeth on edge.’
      • ‘I have been thinking about this all day long, ever since someone made a stray remark about this investigation that just set my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘But something about the way these magazines photograph women sets my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Even after all these years, loud eating is the one trait which still sets my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Unless, of course, the sound of kids enjoying themselves sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘From the moment they start playing carols in the shops in October to the appearance of the first Easter Eggs in the shops on New Years Eve, the rampant hypocrisy of the Christmas spirit sets your teeth on edge.’
      irritate, set someone's teeth on edge, jar
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  • take the edge off

    • Reduce the intensity or effect of (something unpleasant or severe)

      ‘the tablets will take the edge off the pain’
      • ‘A couple of overdue emails took the edge off of the urge but didn't sate it.’
      • ‘Apparently the painkillers had worn off and, when he couldn't find his usual source, decided to buy some crack to take the edge off.’
      • ‘Staying in high gear whenever possible, accelerating slowly and reducing weight can help take the edge off the fuel bill.’
      • ‘I would always have two pints after a round to take the edge off and relax.’
      • ‘Yet resurgent consumer spending, the lifeblood of all advanced post-industrial economies like Hong Kong's, should take the edge off, economists said.’
      • ‘Taking 500 mg of milk thistle before embarking on a long night of drinking often takes the edge off the after effects.’
      • ‘And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off.’
      • ‘Keep on biking and swimming, though, to take the edge off.’
      • ‘My Friend Rob I have a friend who reads my stuff and sends me thoughtful email and I got a great note from him this morning about my son being ill and how sometimes praying can take the edge off - I totally agree.’
      • ‘The real man gets up and pounds back a cold one to take the edge off.’
      allay, assuage, alleviate, ease, relieve, reduce, diminish, decrease, lessen, soothe, soften, dull, cushion, mollify, moderate, calm, lull, temper, mitigate, palliate, blunt, deaden, abate, tone down
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Phrasal Verbs

  • edge someone out

    • Remove a person from an organization or role by indirect means.

      ‘she was edged out of the organization by the director’
      • ‘He used to be more important, but guys get edged out when the growing pains start.’
      • ‘Of the meat selections, Malaysian pork chop edged out lamb and steak as a favorite.’
      • ‘Court Masterpiece, a nine-length winner at the course earlier in the season, just edged out Jack Sullivan in a tight finish.’
      • ‘Technology may yet edge out attitudes in any attempt to narrow the chasm when it comes to rural and urban needs and wants.’
      • ‘Boulianne took the gold, posting a time of 28.68 seconds and edging out Mains by.09 seconds.’
      • ‘Ashley was the most popular name for girls, edging out Emily.’
      • ‘Hambly was edged out in July 2002 and took the company to court to obtain his pay-off.’
      • ‘Our television drama, once considered to be the best in the world, has been edged out by trashy entertainment formats.’
      • ‘The state party chairman announcing today she won the February five caucuses there, edging out Barack Obama by some 2,000 ballots.’
      • ‘The band definitely edges out all other commitments for the next few weeks, as the girls embark on their first big tour.’


Old English ecg ‘sharpened side of a blade’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch egge and German Ecke, also to Old Norse eggja (see egg), from an Indo-European root shared by Latin acies ‘edge’ and Greek akis ‘point’.