the edge or margin of a steep place or of land bordering water.
any extreme edge; verge.
a crucial or critical point, especially of a situation or state beyond which success or catastrophe occurs: We were on the brink of war.

1250–1300; Middle English brink < Old Norse (Danish) brink, cognate with MLG brink edge, hillside, Old Norse brekka slope, hill

brinkless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
brink (brɪŋk)
1.  the edge, border, or verge of a steep place: the brink of the precipice
2.  the highest point; top: the sun fell below the brink of the hill
3.  the land at the edge of a body of water
4.  the verge of an event or state: the brink of disaster
[C13: from Middle Dutch brinc, of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse brekka slope, Middle Low German brink edge of a field]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., from M.L.G. brink "edge," or Dan. brink "steepness, shore, bank, grassy edge," from P.Gmc. *brenkon, prob. from PIE *bhreng-, variant of base *bhren- "project, edge" (cf. Lith. brinkti "to swell").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Its disciplinary practice, he says, is poised on the brink of irrelevancy.
The discovery increases the possibility that the heavily spotted cats can be
  rescued from the brink of extinction.
Wolves lose, tigers gain, penguins in peril and other updates from the brink.
It's good that none of us can actually see the drop until we're out there, on
  the brink.
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