- to feel tense or unable to relax
- to be irritable
- when someone is nervous
- to be at the end of something
- irritated; edgy; touchy; nervous; jumpy
- I am sorry for snapping at you. I have been a bit on edge since I found out that they are selling our company.
- My new colleague puts me on edge, I hate working with her.
- He is on edge because their test results should have posted online hours ago.
- The African elephant is on the edge of extinction. If nothing is done there will soon be none left.
As mentioned above, the phrase has many different meanings. They do not all have the same origin.
The shortened version that we now used is derived from the phrase “to set one’s teeth on edge.” This phrase dates back to the 1300s.
“And the teeth of sones wexen on egge.”
The meaning relating to being full of eagerness is believed to have originated in the late 1500s. John Lyly · Sapho and Phao · (anon.) 1584
“set mine eares on edge with sweet words.”
The most recent meaning dates back to the late 1800s. This is when people started using the phrase to describe a sense of irritability.