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Wordsmith.org Forums General Topics Q&A about words On the brink
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OP Note that this is a word post and not a political post. I learned a new word today in a headline from CBC Newsworld:
North Korea denies withdrawal from nuclear pact is brinkmanship
Now, I did guess what it meant, but looked it up on Atomica:
The practice, especially in international politics, of seeking advantage by creating the impression that one is willing and able to push a highly dangerous situation to the limit rather than concede.
I just thought fellow AWADers might like to comment on whether they like the word, whether they could easily guess what it meant, whether they think anyone else would've guessed it, whether we'll likely hear it too much in the future, and whether I must've lived my life in a cardboard box not to have heard the word brinkmanship by now. And if you, like me, didn't know it, help yourself to one serving of New Word, it's on me.
The OED defines this as "the art of advancing to the very brink of war etc. but not engaging in it." Much the same as Atomica. I don't know who first coined the word (MW suggests in 1956), but have been aware of and used it for many years. I think it is very expressive.
1956 sounds about right. It was quite common in the Cold War era, both as a phrase and a tactic. Perty scary as the latter; never had a problem with the former
OP Perhaps I didn't know it because my shorter lifetime hasn't included enough wars to be on the brink of. Oh well, it's a new word just for us younger folks then.
I remember when the word was coined, but not by whom. The the Secretary of State, John Foster
Dulles had used the phrase "on the brink" and it was seized by those who wished to belittle him
and he was accused fo trying in a dangerous way to be implying that the US would use nuclear
And it was Dean Rusk who said during the Cuban Missile Crisis, "We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other guy just brinked."
Thanks for the new word, young Bean!
FWIW, you also hear "brinksmanship."
Rings truer to my ear.
Sure there shouldn't be an apostrophe in there?
Dear Faldage: "Brinksmanship" is the art of robbing armored cars.
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