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[tee-ter] /ˈti tər/ Chiefly Northern U.S.
verb (used without object)
to move unsteadily.
to ride a seesaw; teetertotter.
verb (used with object)
to tip (something) up and down; move unsteadily.
a seesaw motion; wobble.
a seesaw; teetertotter.
Origin of teeter
1835-45; variant of dial. titter, Middle English titeren < Old Norse titra tremble; cognate with German zittern to tremble, quiver Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for teeter
  • One broke an arm falling off a bed, the other broke his on a teeter totter.
  • The two terrain parks offer beginner and advanced lines, rails and boxes, a teeter totter and jumps.
  • It's a way of turning a possible gangplank into a teeter-totter.
  • Two of the professors admit that their unreal students teeter on an ethical precipice, because the technique could be abused.
  • And sometimes, people teeter on the edge between the two.
  • The teeter and fall of health care reform is what they want.
  • But cancer cells teeter on the edge between self and nonself.
  • Board games and puzzles teeter over the hamster's cage.
  • They teeter between flashes of the poetic and the generic, sometimes within the same song.
  • For over a year, they have watched public opinion teeter between sympathy and suspicion.
British Dictionary definitions for teeter


to move or cause to move unsteadily; wobble
noun, verb
another word for seesaw
Word Origin
C19: from Middle English titeren, related to Old Norse titra to tremble, Old High German zittarōn to shiver
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 teeter

1843, "to seesaw," alteration of Middle English titter "move unsteadily," probably from Old Norse titra "to shake, shiver, totter," related to German zittern "to tremble." Noun teeter-totter "see-saw" is attested from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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