on the verge

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on the verge of (something)

Very closely approaching something; very nearly at the point at which something will happen. After weeks of failed experiments, I think we're finally on the verge of a breakthrough.
See also: of, on, verge

on the verge (of doing something)

 and on the verge of something
at the very beginning of doing something; just about to do something. Bill was on the verge of leaving town when he found a job. Susan was on the verge of laughter, so she left the lecture hall.
See also: on, verge
References in classic literature ?
Hangin' on the verge of starvation,' I says--'for the honor of the family--hic--sen' me some bread.
He had been on the verge of marrying her once, only "the guv'ner" had sworn to disinherit him, and had presented him with a sum that would stagger the imagination, and that had staggered the virtue of "Little Bright-Eyes.
She saw that he stood on the verge of lunacy, if he had not already stepped across it.
Record-breaking Daw Mill Colliery, near Nuneaton, is on the verge of a pounds 100million-plus investment programme which promises to safeguard its future for years.