November 14, 2013
- verge (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : something that borders, limits, or bounds : edge2 : brink, threshold
- How do you use it?
- I was on the verge of falling, but caught myself just in time.
- Are you a word wiz?
From which of these Latin words do you think "verge" derives?If you chose B, you're right! "Verge" comes ultimately from the Latin word "virga," meaning "twig." In Latin, "virga" also eventually came to be used of a line or a rod. The Anglo-French took this last sense of the Latin "virga" to make their own word, "verge," which referred to a rod or staff, then a staff of authority, and then by extension, the area under that authority. Later in the Middle Ages, the word "verge" expanded further to refer to the edge of that area, and then later to any edge or boundary line. We now use it in a more abstract way, speaking of "being on the verge" of acting or doing something.