on one toes

toe

[toh]
noun
1.
one of the terminal digits of the human foot.
2.
an analogous part in certain animals.
3.
the forepart of the foot or hoof of a horse or the like.
4.
the forepart of anything worn on the foot, as of a shoe or stocking.
5.
a part resembling a toe in shape or position.
6.
Railroads. the end of a frog in front of the point and in the direction of the switch.
7.
Machinery.
a.
a journal or part placed vertically in a bearing, as the lower end of a vertical shaft.
b.
a curved partial cam lifting the flat surface of a follower and letting it drop; wiper.
8.
Golf. the outer end of the head of a club.
verb (used with object), toed, toeing.
9.
to furnish with a toe or toes.
10.
to touch or reach with the toes: The pitcher toed the mound, wound up, and threw a fastball.
11.
to kick with the toe.
12.
Golf. to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club.
13.
Carpentry.
a.
to drive (a nail) obliquely.
b.
to toenail.
verb (used without object), toed, toeing.
14.
to stand, walk, etc., with the toes in a specified position: to toe in.
15.
to tap with the toe, as in dancing.
Idioms
16.
on one's toes, energetic; alert; ready: The spirited competition kept them on their toes.
17.
step/tread on someone's toes, to offend (a person); encroach on the territory or sphere of responsibility of (another): The new employee stepped on a lot of toes when he suggested reorganizing the office.
18.
toe the line. line1 ( def 83 ).

Origin:
before 900; Middle English; Old English tā; cognate with Dutch teen, German Zehe, Old Norse

toeless, adjective
toelike, adjective

toe, tow.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
toe (təʊ)
 
n
1.  any one of the digits of the foot
2.  the corresponding part in other vertebrates
3.  the part of a shoe, sock, etc, covering the toes
4.  anything resembling a toe in shape or position
5.  the front part of the head of a golf club, hockey stick, etc
6.  the lower bearing of a vertical shaft assembly
7.  the tip of a cam follower that engages the cam profile
8.  informal dip one's toe in, dip one's toes in to begin doing or try something new or unfamiliar
9.  on one's toes alert
10.  tread on someone's toes to offend or insult a person, esp by trespassing on his or her field of responsibility
11.  informal turn up one's toes to die
12.  slang (Austral) speed: a player with plenty of toe
 
vb , toes, toeing, toed
13.  (tr) to touch, kick, or mark with the toe
14.  (tr) golf to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club
15.  (tr) to drive (a nail, spike, etc) obliquely
16.  (intr) to walk with the toes pointing in a specified direction: to toe inwards
17.  toe the line to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
 
[Old English tā; related to Old Frisian tāne, Old Norse tā, Old High German zēha, Latin digitus finger]
 
'toelike
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

toe
O.E. ta (pl. tan), contraction of *tahe (Mercian tahæ), from P.Gmc. *taikhwo (cf. O.N. ta, O.Fris. tane, M.Du. te, Du. teen, O.H.G. zecha, Ger. Zehe "toe"), probably originally meaning "fingers" as well. Many PIE languages still use one word to mean both fingers and toes. The O.E. plural tan survived
in southwestern England to 14c. The verb meaning "touch or reach with the toes" is first recorded 1813, in expression to toe the mark. This phrase seems to be nautical in origin.
"The chief mate ... marked a line on the deck, brought the two boys up to it, making them 'toe the mark.' " [R.H. Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast," 1840]
Toenail is from 1841. To be on (one's) toes "alert, eager" is recorded from 1921.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

toe (tō)
n.
Any of the digits of a foot.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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