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[bringk] /brɪŋk/
the edge or margin of a steep place or of land bordering water.
any extreme edge; verge.
a crucial or critical point, especially of a situation or state beyond which success or catastrophe occurs:
We were on the brink of war.
Origin of brink
1250-1300; Middle English brink < Old Norse (Danish) brink, cognate with MLG brink edge, hillside, Old Norse brekka slope, hill
Related forms
brinkless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brink
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was probably his daughter who led him back from the brink of the grave.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • It was on the brink of the Barrage itself that I spoke to Bailey.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • I followed with the others round the corner to arrive at the brink of the canyon.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • Calendar waddled to the brink of the stage, grunting with relief.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • We lightly debate, we hesitate, we yawn, unconscious of the brink.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for brink


the edge, border, or verge of a steep place: the brink of the precipice
the highest point; top: the sun fell below the brink of the hill
the land at the edge of a body of water
the verge of an event or state: the brink of disaster
Word Origin
C13: from Middle Dutch brinc, of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse brekka slope, Middle Low German brink edge of a field
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for brink

early 13c., from Middle Low German brink "edge," or Danish brink "steepness, shore, bank, grassy edge," from Proto-Germanic *brenkon, probably from PIE *bhreng-, variant of root *bhren- "project, edge" (cf. Lithuanian brinkti "to swell").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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