What’s the meaning of “Sull’orlo dell’abisso”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Sull’orlo dell’abisso along with its pronunciation. If you are a daytime dreamer, this expression is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Sull’orlo dell’abisso

Meaning of the idiom

Sull’orlo dell’abisso can be literally translated as “on the brink of the abyss”. Its meaning is the same as the English expression on the brink of disaster, so it’s used to describe someone who is in a very dangerous situation.

Linguistically speaking, it can be broken down into…

  • sull’, shortened form of sullo, on the
  • orlo, brink
  • dell’, shortened form of dello, of the
  • abisso, abyss

This idiom is very commonly found with the verbs essere, to be, and camminare, to walk.

falling man caught by net

For example, you could say…

Federico non si accorse di essere sull’orlo dell’abisso.
Federico did not realize that he is on the brink of disaster.

Stiamo camminando sull’orlo dell’abisso.
We are walking on the brink of disaster.

Pronunciation of Sull’orlo dell’abisso in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Sull’orlo dell’abisso.
On the brink of disaster.
Literally: On the brink of the abyss.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.

Where does Sull’orlo dell’abisso come from?

When you are on the brink of an abyss, you are a step away from a dramatic fall (rovinosa caduta).

This idiom is not to be taken literally. In this case, falling means failing or taking a huge risk.

man falling from stairs

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Sull’orlo dell’abisso!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Sull’orlo dell’abisso is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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