9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 teetering
  • Sylvia walks home alone, teetering beneath a tower of student papers.
  • As such the adjuncts will be teetering even more on the end of a already short stick.
  • The house is already teetering when someone loses a job, so it doesn't take long.
  • While these students once defined higher education, they are now teetering on the edge of becoming a minority.
  • Many small towns in the basin are teetering on the brink of economic collapse.
  • The outlook for the global economy has darkened, with some large economies teetering close to recession.
  • If he is right the world is teetering on the edge of a terrifying crisis.
  • But when you are teetering on a high wire, stability is difficult to maintain.
  • It is teetering economically for several generations.
  • They sold as many of their best players as they could last month and are still teetering on the edge of liquidation.
British Dictionary definitions for teetering


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 teetering



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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