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What does "we are poised on the brink of dramatic changes" mean?

I thought it means we are calm and composed when it comes to making dramatic changes.

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2 Answers 2

It means that dramatic changes are about to happen.

Poised: balanced, hanging
Brink: edge

It doesn't say anything about our state of mind or behaviour when facing dramatic changes.

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I think OP was thinking of the other definition of "poised": assured, composed –  Kristina Lopez Dec 19 '12 at 3:40
    
@KristinaLopez ah yes, I can see where the confusion would come from. –  JAM Dec 19 '12 at 3:50
    
Yes, that's what I initially thought. Like, "he is a poised young man". But I guess in this sentence, "poised" was used as in "Kate is poised to become the highest-paid supermodel in the fashion world". –  Tuna Dec 19 '12 at 3:57
    
@Tuna - yes, you're absolutely right. It is confusing. For the other meaning, you'd say something like "We are poised when we are on the brink of dramatic change," or even better, "We maintain our poise when we are on the brink of dramatic change," but really you'd do better to use a different word altogether, to avoid ambiguity. The line you quote is quite a familiar construction -- it leaves no doubt in the native speaker's mind. –  JAM Dec 19 '12 at 4:02
    
Thank you for the clarification!! –  Tuna Dec 19 '12 at 4:16
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The phrase poised on is an emphasized way of implying just 'positioned' in a spatial or temporal reference or both. See:

poised
adjective
1 ready, waiting, prepared, standing by, on the brink, in the wings, all set US forces are poised for a massive air, land and sea assault.

In the given context, there's no relevance to the basic meaning of the word poise, i.e., assured; composed. Rather, it is the idiomatic sense as explained above that applies.

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