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verge on

Meaning: to be close to reaching a certain state or condition

Synonym: border on

For example:

  • verge on sth The senior students' hazing rituals for new college students were so cruel that they were verging on torture.

  • verge on sth Even as a child, Glenn Gould had a talent for playing the piano that verged on genius.

Note: "verge upon" is a more formal variant with the same meaning

Quick Quiz:

Charlie says the president's actions in the Middle East were verging on criminal. He thinks they were
  1. against criminals
  2. the opposite of criminal
  3. almost criminal

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