Friday, April 04, 2014


Sonya asked about the word verge. She came across it in an article discussing medical scientists on the verge of discovering a cure for baldness.

It means a border or the point at which something begins, especially as the distinctive line of separation between one subject or phase and another.

It comes from the Latin virga, a rod, and how it got from rod to border is a very interesting—if quirky—journey. The easiest way to describe the transition is to chart its history as found in the Oxford English Dictionary.

·      the male sex organ
·      the male organ of a crustacean
·      the shaft of a column
·      a type of torch or candle
·      a wand carried as a symbol of authority
·      an area subject to the jurisdiction of the Lord High Steward
·      the bounds, limits, or precincts of a particular place

The words converge and diverge use the common point or border imagery.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

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