The Meaning of Cusp: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of cusp? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word cusp, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word cusp mean?

According to Your Dictionary, the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word cusp has many different meanings. The word cusp is used as a noun either literally figuratively in different ways. The word cusp can be used to refer to an important moment in which someone makes a decision that will determine future events or the verge of a development, a point, pointed end, peak, apex or tip, in mathematics to refer to a point at which a curve crosses itself and at which the two tangents to the curve coincide or a projecting point where two arcs meet, such as the internal curve of an arc, inner points of a trefoil, either point of a crescent moon, a transitional part of a sign or house as in the boundary between two Zodiacal constellations or two astrological signs, in medicine to refer to the triangular fold or flap of a heart valve, in architecture to refer to a common motif in Gothic architecture and Victorianism in which two curves lines or two structures interact, or in dentistry to refer to a pointed or rounded projection on the chewing surface of a tooth or any of the pointed parts of a canine tooth or molar. The pronunciation of cusp is kʌsp.

Many different languages also contain words that mean cusp. You may notice that some of these different words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. The below list of translations of the word cusp is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Czech: hranice‎ (fem.)
  •  Bokmål: grense‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Lithuanian: riba‎ (fem.)
  •  Bulgarian: грани́ца‎ (fem.)
  •  Swahili: mpaka‎
  •  Galician: fronteira‎ (fem.)
  •  French: frontière‎ (fem.), limite‎ (fem.)
  •  Georgian: მიჯნა‎
  •  Latin: finis‎
  •  Hungarian: határ‎, mezsgye‎
  •  Mongolian: хил‎, зааг‎, хилийн шугам‎, саад тотгор‎, тээг‎, садаа‎
  •  Ukrainian: кордон‎ (masc.), межа‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: frontieră‎ (fem.), graniță‎ (fem.), limită‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Grenze‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: grens‎
  •  Persian: مرز‎ (marz)
  •  Mandarin: 邊界‎, 边界‎ (biānjiè)
  •  Italian: confine‎, limite‎
  •  Spanish: frontera‎ (masc.), límite‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: грани́ца‎ (fem.), межа́‎ (fem.)
  •  Armenian: սահման‎
  •  Maori: kotinga‎
  •  Portuguese: fronteira‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 境界‎ (きょうかい, kyōkai), 境‎ (さかい, sakai)
  •  Greek: σύνορο‎ (neut.), όριο‎ (neut.)
  •  Catalan: frontera‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: gräns‎ (common)
  •  Sorani: سنور‎ (sinoor)
  •  Zazaki: sinor‎
  •  Nynorsk: grense‎ (fem.)
  •  Tamil: எல்லை‎
  •  Polish: granica‎ (fem.)
  •  Welsh: ffin‎ (fem.)
  •  Tagalog: hangganan‎

What are synonyms of cusp?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word cusp. These are called synonyms, which can be used interchangeably with the word cusp and are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or simply expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms of cusp is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  snag
  •  edge
  •  apogee
  •  apex
  •  spike
  •  border
  •  elbow
  •  intersection
  •  prick
  •  vertex
  •  summit
  •  acicula
  •  tine
  •  pointed
  •  pinnacle
  •  cusped
  •  verge
  •  acme
  •  bit
  •  mucro
  •  leaflets
  •  headland
  •  foreland
  •  point
  •  barb
  •  bifurcation
  •  maximum
  •  brink
  •  tooth
  •  cotter
  •  crest
  •  end
  •  beak
  •  auger
  •  stiletto
  •  spur
  •  sword
  •  spire
  •  spine
  •  wedge
  •  awn
  •  intersection point
  •  curved lines
  •  top
  •  height
  •  astrological
  •  triangle
  •  bristle
  •  extent
  •  crossover
  •  thorn
  •  pin point
  •  sharp points
  •  booklet
  •  promontory
  •  astrologically
  •  angularity
  •  threshold
  •  fold
  •  horn
  •  bound
  •  boundary
  •  angularness
  •  prickle
  •  jag
  •  spit
  •  neb
  •  borderline
  •  thresholds
  •  ceiling
  •  crown
  •  corner
  •  nib
  •  cape
  •  dagger
  •  prong
  •  leaflet
  •  limitation
  •  prickler
  •  antler
  •  head
  •  intersectant
  •  tip
  •  quill
  •  solstice
  •  beginning
  •  critical juncture
  •  dividing line
  •  sticker
  •  claw
  •  micronation
  •  acumination
  •  sharp end
  •  tips
  •  peak
  •  ambit
  •  angle
  •  extremity
  •  needle
  •  bend
  •  bill
  •  wedges
  •  face

What are the zodiac signs and their dates?

The word cusp is often used to discuss astrology and the signs of the zodiac. People often say that they are on the “cusp” of two signs if they are born on the first day of a sign or the last day of a zodiac sign. A person’s birthday is said to determine their traits in the field of astrology, so it is very important to know your astrological signs and have them be accurate. A belt is considered to extend by nine degrees on either sign of the ecliptic heavens, which is the plane of Earth’s orbit and the Sun’s annual path. There are twelve different signs of the zodiac. These are each considered to occupy 1/12 (or 30°) of its great circle. While these no longer correspond to the astronomical constellations in which the Sun actually appears, since they are irregular in size, they still represent the animals and things of the zodiac depending on the day and time of birth. Look at the below list of when different zodiac signs are from Britannica and see what your sun sign is! 

  •  Aquarius (Water Bearer): January 20–February 18
  •  Pisces (Fish): February 19–March 20
  •  Aries (Ram): March 21–April 19
  •  Taurus (Bull): April 20–May 20
  •  Gemini (Twins): May 21–June 21
  •  Cancer (Crab): June 22–July 22
  •  Leo (Lion): July 23–August 22
  •  Virgo (Virgin): August 23–September 22
  •  Libra (Balance): September 23–October 23
  •  Scorpio (Scorpion): October 24–November 21
  •  Sagittarius (Archer): November 22–December 21
  •  Capricorn (Goat): December 22–January 19

Overall, the word cusp means many different things. It can be used in anatomy to refer to the crown of a tooth or triangular flaps of a heart valve, in geometry to refer to a point of a curve, pair of curves tangent, the intersection of two arcs or foils, an imaginary line, or where two branches of a curve meet or arcs of a curve intersect, and in other derivative categories like botany, astronomy to refer to an inferior planet, or architecture to refer to the intrados of a Gothic arch. It can also be used figuratively to refer to the cusp of a new era or beginning of a change.


  1. zodiac | Symbols, Dates, Facts, & Signs | Britannica 
  2. Cusp Meaning | Best 21 Definitions of Cusp | Your Dictionary 
  3. Cusp synonyms – 344 Words and Phrases for Cusp | Power Thesaurus 
  4. cusp: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense