on the brink

Also found in: Acronyms.

on the brink (of doing something)

Fig. on the verge of doing something; almost to the point of doing something. I was on the brink of selling my car to make ends meet when the tax refund came in the mail.
See also: brink, on
References in classic literature ?
And she, remembering the words that had given her the victory, "how I feel on the brink of calamity, how afraid I am of myself," saw that this weapon was a dangerous one, and that it could not be used a second time.
On the brink of departure she was always seized with a flux of words.
I felt my first presentiment that you were on the brink of discovery when I found you looking at the fragments, and I fancy I betrayed to you that something of the sort was disturbing me.
Now she flattered with exquisite tact, now she moralized, now she tried how far I was accessible to mercenary motives, then she disported on the brink of affection--knowing that some men are won by weakness--anon, she talked excellent sense, aware that others have the folly to admire judgment.
In due course he had let the barge through and was alone again, looking to the closing of his gates, when Bradley Headstone appeared before him, standing on the brink of the Lock.
A trying suspense, to be passing a whole summer night on the brink of the black ocean, ready to take that plunge into it upon which Monsieur Gabelle had resolved
Wopsle through his struggle with Laertes on the brink of the orchestra and the grave, and slackened no more until he had tumbled the king off the kitchen-table, and had died by inches from the ankles upward.
Seeing this, Don Quixote braced his buckler on his arm, and with his hand on his sword exclaimed, "O Lady of Beauty, strength and support of my faint heart, it is time for thee to turn the eyes of thy greatness on this thy captive knight on the brink of so mighty an adventure.
We have a hundred thousand francs or thereabouts loaned on their securities, and we are a little uneasy at reports that have reached us that the firm is on the brink of ruin.
That evening we stood on the brink of a precipice, over which the dark stream bounded in one final leap of full 300 feet.
Through the chances and changes of many years, the future was pressing near--and Anne Silvester stood on the brink of it.
You see, there are some people who say, like your American friend, that we are even now almost on the brink of war.
You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question addressed to me from a man on the brink of destruction and to whom I should have supposed that my vessel would have been a resource which he would not have exchanged for the most precious wealth the earth can afford.