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tee·​ter ˈtē-tər How to pronounce teeter (audio)
teetered; teetering; teeters

intransitive verb

: to move unsteadily : wobble
: waver, vacillate
teetered on the brink of bankruptcy
: seesaw


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Examples of teeter in a Sentence

Verb The pile of books teetered and fell to the floor. She teetered down the street in her high heels.
Recent Examples on the Web
In effect, the money crowd’s projecting that American will keep teetering on a narrow edge, making too little to pay down debt, and risking a fall into default if times turn tough. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2023 Policy change alone has yet to make any measurable difference for the lake, which teetered over the brink of ecological collapse at this time last year. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Sep. 2023 But even as the nation’s EV market appears to be teetering on the edge of an electric takeover, a hesitant American public — and a still-subpar charging infrastructure — could still hold the country back. Shannon Osaka, Emily Guskin, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2023 And thanks to this mismatch between action and rhetoric, this inflection point is becoming a perilous cliff, with America teetering at the edge of disaster. Shay Khatiri, National Review, 12 Sep. 2023 Now, at a time when theater chains continue to teeter on the precipice of bankruptcy, this summer’s combined box office squeaked past $4 billion, a key milestone bringing ticket-buying levels back to pre-coronavirus normalcy. Vulture, 6 Sep. 2023 The American Health Care Association has waged a relentless campaign claiming facilities were teetering, with Medicaid subsidies insufficient, widespread hiring issues and rampant home closures. Matt Sedensky The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 2 Sep. 2023 But even the stronger players are now teetering on the brink of default, underscoring the challenges Beijing faces to contain the crisis. Laura He, CNN, 21 Aug. 2023 In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority — Hamas’s longtime rival — was teetering on collapse, seen by many as complicit in Israeli raids that have made 2023 the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied territory in two decades. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2023
Silicon Valley Bank Fails As banking sector teeters, could S.F.’s First Republic collapse next? Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Mar. 2023 But House Republican opposition to new aid looks increasingly likely to imperil the money, as the capital teeters on the edge of a possible government shutdown. John Hudson, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 As London teeters between its second summer and the first signs of autumn (cooler mornings, knee-high boot sightings, whispers of cuffing season…) the fashion world is taking to the streets for London Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2024 season. Ebony-Renee Baker, refinery29.com, 18 Sep. 2023 Related In Israel, the rule of law teeters on the brinkIt’s time to end US military aid to Israel — for both countries’ sakes Protesters thronged outside Ben-Gvir’s home in a West Bank settlement on Friday to condemn his remarks. Isabel Debre, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Aug. 2023 Regional banks have been hit especially hard, and investors are still bracing for pain six weeks later as First Republic Bank teeters on the edge. Allison Morrow, CNN, 28 Apr. 2023 The girl teeters on the deck, as the bleach-blonde Latina who’s teaching her offers her arm for balance. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Pitchfork, 18 Sep. 2023 Their selection of outdoor furniture teeters between traditional and modern. Isiah Magsino, Town & Country, 6 July 2023 Tropical Storm Hilary hit the region’s homeless population especially hard and strained a shelter system that regularly teeters at capacity. Blake Nelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'teeter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English titeren to totter, reel; akin to Old High German zittarōn to shiver

First Known Use


1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1860, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of teeter was in 1844

Dictionary Entries Near teeter

Cite this Entry

“Teeter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teeter. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to move unsteadily
teetered on the edge and fell over the side
teeter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on teeter

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