View synonyms for borderline


[ bawr-der-lahyn ]


  1. on or near a border or boundary.
  2. having an uncertain, indeterminate, or debatable status:

    He was a borderline case for admission to the program—please encourage him to apply again next year.

  3. not quite meeting accepted, expected, or average standards:

    Discover specific how-to strategies for turning a borderline student into a confident achiever.

    Synonyms: marginal, unsure, precarious, doubtful

  4. approaching bad taste or obscenity:

    He made several borderline remarks that offended them.


  1. bor·der line.
    1. a border or boundary:

      The town of Tiverton, Rhode Island, rests on the once-disputed Massachusetts borderline.

    2. a notional dividing line:

      Often the borderline between safety and toxicity is very small, and every year thousands of fish die as a consequence of chemical overdosing.


/ ˈbɔːdəˌlaɪn /


  1. a border; dividing line; line of demarcation
  2. an indeterminate position between two conditions or qualities

    the borderline between friendship and love


  1. on the edge of one category and verging on another

    a borderline failure in the exam

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of borderline1

First recorded in 1865–70; border + line 1

Discover More

Example Sentences

But, according to Wolfe, the manager said her posts in general were “borderline” and that other Times staffers had done “worse.”

The idea that he could play until age 45 has gone from borderline crazy to probable.

The strain on capacity could lead to worse outcomes particularly for people whose conditions are borderline—not so critical that they must be admitted immediately, but not so mild that they wouldn’t benefit from hospital care.

From Fortune

What I saw makes me believe that it would be borderline impossible to rig a small local election, let alone a statewide vote.

From Vox

They let you automatically tweak pictures of a human face in some impressive—and sometimes borderline disturbing—ways.

Vasquez, who has borderline ID, was exonerated in 1989, four years after his conviction.

Family and friends describe her as highly dedicated to her job, if not borderline workaholic.

The pair carried on their “work” relationship as borderline transients.

Their relationships with each other range from conciliatory to borderline antagonistic.

Their borderline baseline distaste for a person they did not know had become a sport, and the off season was finally over.

This valley extends for approximately three hundred and fifty miles to the borderline of Tennessee.

This action provided Virginians with knowledge of the type of terrain and its potentiality along this important borderline.

If there were a borderline along which Lassans were meeting humans in any kind of conflict it was most likely to lie southward.

Free land was receding at railroad speed, the borderline could be overtaken only by steam, and every man was in haste to arrive.

We know what a thin borderline separates normal people from—from you.


Related Words




border lightborderline personality disorder