tottering

[tot-er-ing]
adjective
1.
walking unsteadily or shakily.
2.
lacking security or stability; threatening to collapse; precarious: a tottering empire.

Origin:
totter + -ing2

totteringly, adverb
untottering, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged

totter

[tot-er]
verb (used without object)
1.
to walk or go with faltering steps, as if from extreme weakness.
2.
to sway or rock on the base or ground, as if about to fall: The tower seemed to totter in the wind. The government was tottering.
3.
to shake or tremble: a load that tottered.
noun
4.
the act of tottering; an unsteady movement or gait.

Origin:
1150–1200; Middle English toteren to swing < ?

totterer, noun


1. See stagger. 2. waver. 3. oscillate, quiver.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
totter (ˈtɒtə)
 
vb
1.  to walk or move in an unsteady manner, as from old age
2.  to sway or shake as if about to fall
3.  to be failing, unstable, or precarious
 
n
4.  the act or an instance of tottering
 
[C12: perhaps from Old English tealtrian to waver, and Middle Dutch touteren to stagger]
 
'totterer
 
n
 
'tottering
 
adj
 
'totteringly
 
adv
 
'tottery
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

totter
c.1200, "swing to and fro," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norw. totra "to quiver, shake"). Meaning "stand or walk with shaky, unsteady steps" is from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Each step is a tottering nightmare of minimal increments.
The result is a domino effect: prices fall, driving other tottering operators
  into bankruptcy.
The elephant screamed and thrashed the bushes with his trunk, tottering on
  three legs.
Busing is dead as social policy, and affirmative action is tottering.
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