verb (used without object), verged, verg·ing.

to be on the edge or margin; border: Our property verges on theirs.
to come close to or be in transition to some state, quality, etc. (usually followed by on): a statesman who verged on greatness; a situation that verged on disaster.

verb (used with object), verged, verg·ing.

to serve as the verge or boundary of: a high hedge verging the yard.

Origin of verge

1350–1400; late Middle English: shaft, column, rod (hence boundary or jurisdiction symbolized by a steward's rod), Middle English: penis < Middle French: rod < Latin virga

Synonyms for verge

1. brim, lip, brink.



verb (used without object), verged, verg·ing.

to incline; tend (usually followed by to or toward): The economy verges toward inflation.
to slope or sink.

Origin of verge

First recorded in 1600–10, verge is from the Latin word vergere to turn, bend, be inclined Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for verge

Contemporary Examples of verge

Historical Examples of verge

  • A grave Spaniard, somewhat past the verge of middle age, appeared.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • They had bubbled up within him—were hovering on the verge of his burning lips.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • I have twice been on the verge of slaying you, and the third time might be too much for my patience.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • White Fang, on the verge of retreat, would have retreated, leaving the meat to him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • To him came these men broken down, some on the verge of insanity.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

British Dictionary definitions for verge




an edge or rim; margin
a limit beyond which something occurs; brinkon the verge of ecstasy
British a grass border along a road
an enclosing line, belt, or strip
architect the edge of the roof tiles projecting over a gable
architect the shaft of a classical column
an enclosed space
horology the spindle of a balance wheel in a vertical escapement, found only in very early clocks
English legal history
  1. the area encompassing the royal court that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Lord High Steward
  2. a rod or wand carried as a symbol of office or emblem of authority, as in the Church
  3. a rod held by a person swearing fealty to his lord on becoming a tenant, esp of copyhold land


(intr foll by on) to be near (to)to verge on chaos
(when intr, sometimes foll by on) to serve as the edge of (something)this narrow strip verges the road

Word Origin for verge

C15: from Old French, from Latin virga rod




(intr; foll by to or towards) to move or incline in a certain direction

Word Origin for verge

C17: from Latin vergere
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 verge

"edge, rim," mid-15c., from Middle French verge "rod or wand of office," hence "scope, territory dominated," from Latin virga "shoot, rod stick," of unknown origin. Earliest attested sense in English is now-obsolete meaning "male member, penis" (c.1400). Modern sense is from the notion of within the verge (c.1500, also as Anglo-French dedeinz la verge), i.e. "subject to the Lord High Steward's authority" (as symbolized by the rod of office), originally a 12-mile radius round the king's court. Sense shifted to "the outermost edge of an expanse or area." Meaning "point at which something happens" (as in on the verge of) is first attested c.1600. "A very curious sense development." [Weekley]


"tend, incline," c.1600, from Latin vergere "to bend, turn, tend toward, incline," from PIE *werg- "to turn," from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Much influenced by verge (n.) in its verbal form meaning "to be adjacent to" (1787). Related: Verged; verging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

verge in Medicine




The extreme edge or margin; a border.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with verge


In addition to the idiom beginning with verge

  • verge on

also see:

  • on the verge of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.