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[kuhsp] /kʌsp/
a point or pointed end.
Anatomy, Zoology, Botany. a point, projection, or elevation, as on the crown of a tooth.
Also called spinode. Geometry. a point where two branches of a curve meet, end, and are tangent.
Architecture. a decorative device, used especially in Gothic architecture to vary the outlines of intradoses or to form architectural foils, consisting of a pair of curves tangent to the real or imaginary line defining the area decorated and meeting at a point within the area.
Astronomy. a point of a crescent, especially of the moon.
  1. the zodiacal degree that marks the beginning of a house or a sign.
  2. Informal. a person born on the first day of a sign.
a point that marks the beginning of a change:
on the cusp of a new era.
Origin of cusp
1575-85; < Latin cuspis a point
Related forms
cuspal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cusp
  • My life's dream of becoming a professor was on the cusp of coming true.
  • We are on the cusp of a change in our understanding of the nature of all things, and human beings in particular.
  • These are perfect non-fiction books for elementary-aged children who are on the cusp between picture books and chapter books.
  • So already the reader is at several veiled removes even as the speaker intimates that she's on the cusp of making a revelation.
  • More and more too are withdrawing to care for elderly parents at a time when they are on the cusp of the higher echelons.
  • We're on the cusp of a new chapter for the auto industry.
  • It is also a novel, set on the cusp of the millennium, in which our society's anxieties are played out in microcosm.
  • Another group is on the cusp of the next round but teams need a combination of positive results to ensure progress.
  • Today, on the cusp of what could be the cruelest month, the crisis has calmed.
  • The struggle to overcome infertility has brought researchers to the cusp of altering humanity's genetic heritage.
British Dictionary definitions for cusp


any of the small elevations on the grinding or chewing surface of a tooth
any of the triangular flaps of a heart valve
a point or pointed end
(geometry) Also called spinode. a point at which two arcs of a curve intersect and at which the two tangents are coincident
(architect) a carving at the meeting place of two arcs
(astronomy) either of the points of a crescent moon or of a satellite or inferior planet in a similar phase
(astrology) any division between houses or signs of the zodiac
Word Origin
C16: from Latin cuspis point, pointed end
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cusp

1580s, from Latin cuspis "point, spear, pointed end, head," of unknown origin. Astrological use is earliest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cusp in Medicine

cusp (kŭsp)

  1. A pointed or rounded projection on the chewing surface of a tooth.

  2. A triangular fold or flap of a heart valve.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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