Definition of knife edge in English:

knife edge


  • 1The edge of a knife.

    thrilling, exhilarating, stirring, rousing, stimulating, intoxicating, electrifying, invigorating, moving, inspiring
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    1. 1.1as modifier (of creases or pleats in a garment) very fine.
      ‘knife-edge creases’
      • ‘Gypsy dirndls, knife-edge pleats and rich colour mixes don't often work for me, but in his hands the results were masterly, with the Romany effect tempered by stringently tailored ruffled jackets.’
    2. 1.2in singular A tense or uncertain situation, especially one finely balanced between success and failure.
      ‘they have been living on a knife edge since his libel action’
      • ‘In what was described as a knife-edge decision, the members of the board voted by four votes to two in favour of the transfer.’
      • ‘After a year of falling markets, the US economy is now on a knife-edge.’
      • ‘‘The timing could not be more critical, the trade talks are on a knife-edge and we need to see leadership from the EU,’ she added.’
      • ‘York was on a knife-edge tonight as the city's flood defences faced their toughest test following the continuing deluge.’
      • ‘During the winter of 1831-32, the nation stood on a knife-edge.’
      • ‘With the presidential election poised on a knife-edge, both camps have turned their attention not only to the key mid-western battlegrounds but also to the south-western states of the US.’
      • ‘Median incomes may be higher than the national average but many of the young families in these areas are on a financial knife-edge as a result of huge mortgages.’
      • ‘House prices look to be on a knife-edge but, whatever happens to the property market, they look set to remain the nation's favourite topic of discussion for a while longer.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, flood-threatened parts of North Yorkshire remained on a knife-edge today, waiting for river levels to reach their peaks following record rainfalls.’
      • ‘Hopes of settling the bitter firefighters' dispute were on a knife-edge last night after union leaders issued a new deadline for reaching a deal.’
      • ‘Gas supplies, however, are on a knife-edge and any problem, including minor equipment breakdowns or higher summer temperatures, will produce immediate cuts.’
      • ‘The livelihoods of 6,000 people are on a knife-edge, as they wait to be told if Rover can continue as a going concern.’
      • ‘Continued price wars between supermarkets could place the fragile recovery of British agriculture on a knife-edge again.’
      • ‘O'Neill converted to give the Vikings a 14-10 lead before Cooke added a penalty to put the game on a knife-edge at half-time.’
      • ‘Services in many rural areas are now on a knife-edge.’
      • ‘This is going to be the most knife-edge election for a long, long time.’
      • ‘The economy is still on a knife-edge and there is growing popular discontent with falling living standards and the lack of basic democratic rights.’
      • ‘If you don't back your files up, especially if you're a very small business, you're living on a knife-edge.’
      • ‘The court was told that, amid a falling property market and rising construction costs, the whole development was on a knife-edge.’
      • ‘This week's interest-rate decision by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee is on a knife-edge, amid further evidence that the economy is weakening.’
      tense, charged, highly charged, overwrought
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    3. 1.3 A steel wedge on which a pendulum or other device oscillates or is balanced.
    4. 1.4 A narrow, sharp ridge; an arête.
      • ‘After another couple of hours, we made our way gradually along a knife-edge ridge, careful to stay off the cornice which hung over a spectacular 1,000 metre drop to our right.’
      • ‘Aeons ago, rivers of ice carved out the unforgettable landforms - knife-edge ridges, hanging valley, and towering peaks, every view a visual aria.’
      • ‘When I caught up with Bryan, he was gingerly backstepping along a knife-edge arête.’
      • ‘We dropped our packs and did a fast recon up to the base of Koh-i-Bardar to find our line: a steep couloir to a knife-edge ridge to the summit.’