border on

This page is about the phrasal verb border on.

Meaning: If something like an action or an attitude borders on something more extreme, it is close to being that extreme.

Synonym: verge on, come close to

For example:

  • border on sth His fear of the government borders on paranoia.

  • border on sth The fanatical excitement you see at some political rallies in the south borders on mass hysteria.

Note: Almost always used in relation to a negative extreme, though occasionally it's used in a more positive context, as in "his talent borders on genius".

Quick Quiz:

Many legal experts believe the government's decision to declare war on the basis of falsified evidence borders on being

a. heroic

b. criminal

c. unfriendly

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Contributor: Matt Errey