see·​saw | \ ˈsē-ˌsȯ How to pronounce seesaw (audio) \

Definition of seesaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an alternating up-and-down or backward-and-forward motion or movement also : a contest or struggle in which now one side now the other has the lead
2a : a pastime in which two children or groups of children ride on opposite ends of a plank balanced in the middle so that one end goes up as the other goes down
b : the plank or apparatus so used


seesawed; seesawing; seesaws

Definition of seesaw (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move backward and forward or up and down
b : to play at seesaw
2 : alternate seesaw between two activities

transitive verb

: to cause to move in seesaw fashion

Other Words from seesaw


seesaw adjective

Synonyms for seesaw

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of seesaw in a Sentence

Noun Their relationship was an emotional seesaw. Verb The lead seesawed between the two runners right up to the finish line. as their boat seesawed in the rough water, the rescue team tried to get the passengers off the sinking ship
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Out back, there’s a playground with a seesaw, swings and a trampoline, and a small water park complete with slides and a splash pad. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 6 May 2022 In the afternoons, the congestion reversed — the same parents bringing their children home, sometimes stopping at the swing set or the seesaw. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 The seesaw continued with Utica’s second power-play goal of the period at 14:34. Staff Report,, 28 Mar. 2022 Proving that no matter how serious the subject, social media users will find something to poke fun at, one jokester depicted the table as a seesaw, another showed the leaders playing table hockey, and a third put a red megaphone into Macron’s hand. NBC News, 17 Feb. 2022 After decades of wage and income stagnation, the seesaw of power between managers and their workers looks to at least temporarily be tilting in the direction of labor, with employers in competition for workers instead of the other way around. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 The stalemate at the negotiating table until now appeared to match the situation on the ground in Ukraine, which in recent days has seen a seesaw of gains and losses for both sides after nearly five weeks of armed hostilities. Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Both boys seemed less propulsive, as if bouncing on a seesaw alone. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 Novak Djokovic has won his second French Open championship and his 19th Grand Slam title by rallying past Stefanos Tsitsipas in a seesaw final at Roland Garros., 13 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tilting his thick, hefty tail backward to seesaw the front half of his body up, the dinosaur slowly steps and scrapes and rubs against the rough trunks, the friction sending momentary relief over the pebble-like scales covering his body. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Apr. 2022 Temperatures can seesaw wildly, the continent has relatively few weather stations and satellite observations only stretch back about 40 years. NBC News, 27 Mar. 2022 GameStop shares went on a tear in January, driven by a social-media frenzy, and single stocks continued to seesaw throughout the year. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, 30 Dec. 2021 World markets continued to seesaw on every piece of medical news, whether worrisome or reassuring. Raf Casert And Andrew Meldrum, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Nov. 2021 Looking north under overcast skies in late August, the lake stretches all the way to the gray-blue horizon line, which appears to seesaw back and forth. Peter Andrey Smith, STAT, 10 Sep. 2021 And there’s also the natural cycles of the market, which may seesaw between too much and too little before settling into some groove resembling equilibrium. Chris Roberts, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 You might be required to seesaw back and forth between the demands of the family and the needs of your job. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 26 Apr. 2021 The game continued to seesaw during the first five minutes of the final quarter. oregonlive, 21 Feb. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seesaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of seesaw


1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1709, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for seesaw


probably from reduplication of saw entry 3

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seesaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for seesaw


see·​saw | \ ˈsē-ˌsȯ How to pronounce seesaw (audio) \

Kids Definition of seesaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a plank for children to play on that is balanced in the middle on a raised bar with one end going up while the other goes down
2 : a situation in which something keeps changing from one state to another and back again


seesawed; seesawing

Kids Definition of seesaw (Entry 2 of 2)

: to keep changing from one state to another and back again

More from Merriam-Webster on seesaw

Nglish: Translation of seesaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seesaw for Arabic Speakers


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