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border, brim, brink, edge, margin, rim, verge
A border is the part of a surface that is nearest to its boundary ( a rug with a flowered border )—although it may also refer to the boundary line itself ( the border between Vermont and New Hampshire ). A margin is a border of a definite width that is usually distinct in appearance from what it encloses; but unlike border, it usually refers to the blankness or emptiness that surrounds something ( the margin on a printed page ). While border and margin usually refer to something that is circumscribed, edge may refer to only a part of the perimeter ( the south edge of the lawn ) or the line where two planes or surfaces converge ( the edge of the table ). Edge can also connote sharpness ( the edge of a knife ) and can be used metaphorically to suggest tension, harshness, or keenness ( there was an edge in her voice ; take the edge off their nervousness ). Verge may also be used metaphorically to describe the extreme limit of something ( on the verge of a nervous breakdown ), but in a more literal sense, it sometimes is used of the line or narrow space that marks the limit or termination of something ( the verge of a desert or forest ). Brink denotes the edge of something very steep or an abrupt division between land and water ( the brink of the river ), or metaphorically the very final limit before an abrupt change ( on the brink of disaster ). Rim and brim apply only to things that are circular or curving. But while rim describes the edge or lip of a rounded or cylindrical shape ( the rim of a glass ), brim refers to the inner side of the rim when the container is completely full ( a cup filled to the brim with steaming coffee ). However, when one speaks of the brim of a hat, it comes closer to the meaning of margin or border.