on the brink of (something)

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Also found in: Legal.

on the brink of (something)

On the verge of doing something or of having some imminent event happen, especially that which is bad or disastrous. The company is still doing business, but ever since the recession hit they've been teetering on the brink of closing down. The crew is so maddened by the pay cuts that everyone is on the brink of mutiny. We're on the brink of success with these experiments, I just know it.
See also: brink, of, 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.
They attained the summit with some toil, but found, instead of a level, or rather undulating plain, that they were on the brink of a deep and precipitous ravine, from the bottom of which rose a second slope, similar to the one they had just ascended.
At length he summoned me by a low, "S-s-t," and I crept toward the sound of his voice to find him kneeling on the brink of an opening in the floor.