have an edge on, Informal. to be mildly intoxicated with alcoholic liquor: He had a pleasant edge on from the sherry.
    on edge,
    1. (of a person or a person's nerves) acutely sensitive; nervous; tense.
    2. impatient; eager: The contestants were on edge to learn the results.
    set one's teeth on edge. tooth(def 21).

Origin of edge

before 1000; Middle English egge, Old English ecg; cognate with German Ecke corner; akin to Latin aciēs, Greek akís point
Related formsedge·less, adjectiveout·edge, verb (used with object), out·edged, out·edg·ing.un·der·edge, nounun·edge, verb (used with object), un·edged, un·edg·ing.

Synonyms for edge

1. rim, lip.

Synonym study

1. Edge, border, margin refer to a boundary. An edge is the boundary line of a surface or plane: the edge of a table. Border is the boundary of a surface or the strip adjacent to it, inside or out: a border of lace. Margin is a limited strip, generally unoccupied, at the extremity of an area: the margin of a page. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for have an edge on



the border, brim, or margin of a surface, object, etc
a brink or vergethe edge of a cliff; the edge of a breakthrough
  1. a line along which two faces or surfaces of a solid meet
  2. a line joining two vertices of a graph
the sharp cutting side of a blade
keenness, sharpness, or urgencythe walk gave an edge to his appetite
force, effectiveness, or incisivenessthe performance lacked edge
  1. a cliff, ridge, or hillside
  2. (capital)(in place names)Hade Edge
have the edge on or have the edge over to have a slight advantage or superiority (over)
on edge
  1. nervously irritable; tense
  2. nervously excited or eager
set someone's teeth on edge to make someone acutely irritated or uncomfortable


(tr) to provide an edge or border for
(tr) to shape or trim (the edge or border of something), as with a knife or scissorsto edge a pie
to push (one's way, someone, something, etc) gradually, esp edgeways
(tr) cricket to hit (a bowled ball) with the edge of the bat
(tr) to tilt (a ski) sideways so that one edge digs into the snow
(tr) to sharpen (a knife, etc)
Derived Formsedgeless, adjectiveedger, noun

Word Origin for edge

Old English ecg; related to Old Norse egg, Old High German ecka edge, Latin aciēs sharpness, Greek akis point
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

Word Origin and History for have an edge on



late 13c., "to give an edge to" (implied in past participle egged), from edge (n.). Meaning "to move edgeways (with the edge toward the spectator), advance slowly" is from 1620s, originally nautical. Meaning "to defeat by a narrow margin" is from 1953. The meaning "urge on, incite" (16c.) often must be a mistake for egg (v.). Related: Edged; edging.



Old English ecg "corner, edge, point," also "sword" (cf. ecgplega, literally "edge play," ecghete, literally "edge hate," both used poetically for "battle"), from Proto-Germanic *agjo (cf. Old Frisian egg "edge;" Old Saxon eggia "point, edge;" Middle Dutch egghe, Dutch eg; Old Norse egg, see egg (v.); Old High German ecka, German Eck "corner"), from PIE root *ak- "sharp, pointed" (cf. Sanskrit asrih "edge," Latin acies, Greek akis "point;" see acrid).

Spelling development of Old English -cg to Middle English -gg to Modern English -dge represents a widespread shift in pronunciation. To get the edge on (someone) is U.S. colloquial, first recorded 1911. Edge city is from Joel Garreau's 1992 book of that name. Razor's edge as a perilous narrow path translates Greek epi xyrou akmes. To have (one's) teeth on edge is from late 14c., though "It is not quite clear what is the precise notion originally expressed in this phrase" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with have an edge on

have an edge on

Also, have the edge on. Have an advantage over, as in Our team has an edge on them, or In this competition our town has the edge. The use of edge here alludes to the power to cut, transferred to a margin of superiority. [Late 1800s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with edge

  • edge in
  • edge out

also see:

  • cutting edge
  • get a word in edgewise
  • have the edge on
  • on edge
  • on the edge
  • over the edge
  • set one's teeth on edge
  • take the edge off
  • thin edge of the wedge
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.