a. A thin, sharpened side, as of the blade of a cutting instrument.
b. The degree of sharpness of a cutting blade.
c. A penetrating, incisive quality: "His simplicity sets off the satire, and gives it a finer edge" (William Hazlitt).
d. A slight but noticeable sharpness, harshness, or discomforting quality: His voice had an edge to it.
e. Keenness, as of desire or enjoyment; zest: The brisk walk gave an edge to my appetite.
a. The line or area farthest away from the middle: lifted the carpet's edge. See Synonyms at border.
b. The line of intersection of two surfaces: the edge of a brick.
c. A rim or brink: the edge of a cliff.
d. The point at which something is likely to begin: on the edge of war.
3. A margin of superiority; an advantage: a slight edge over the opposition.
v. edged, edg·ing, edg·es
a. To give an edge to (a blade); sharpen.
b. To tilt (a ski or both skis) in such a way that an edge or both edges bite into the snow.
a. To put a border or edge on: edged the quilt with embroidery.
b. To act as or be an edge of: bushes that edged the garden path.
3. To advance or push slightly or gradually: The dog edged the ball with its nose.
4. To trim or shape the edge of: edge a lawn.
5. To surpass or beat by a small margin. Often used with out: The runner edged her opponent out at the last moment.
To move gradually or hesitantly: The child edged toward the door.
Highly tense or nervous; irritable.
on the edge
1. In a precarious position.
2. In a state of keen excitement, as from danger or risk: "the excitement of combat, of living on the edge" (Nelson DeMille).
[Middle English egge, from Old English ecg; see ak- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.