on the brink of (something)

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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 ?
A WEARY Traveller who had lain down and fallen asleep on the brink of a deep well was discovered by Dame Fortune.
If you knew how I feel on the brink of calamity at this instant, how afraid I am of myself
On the brink of some explanation, she seemed to recoil from it.
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.
my poor, sweet darling," she said to her mother, who conscious that they had been on the brink of a rupture gazed at her son with terror, but in the obstinacy and excitement of the conflict could not and would not give way.
I took up the stick, and knelt down on the brink of the South Spit.
Mr Meagles, Doyce, and Clennam, without speaking, walked up and down on the brink of the river, in the light of the rising moon, for a few minutes; and then Doyce lingered behind, and went into the house.
Half a second before you had only to dash the book from the priest's hands, and put your hand over his mouth, and though thus giddily swinging on the brink of the precipice, you are saved.
He was on the brink of saying something further, then looked up at me suddenly and followed me up the ladder.
I did not know before, that I had two daughters on the brink of matrimony.
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.