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

Definition of teeter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move unsteadily : wobble
b : waver, vacillate teetered on the brink of bankruptcy
2 : seesaw



Definition of teeter (Entry 2 of 2)

Synonyms for teeter

Synonyms: Verb

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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: Verb The Lakers continue to teeter of the edge of not making the NBA postseason play-in tournament following their 122-109 loss to the Utah Jazz. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 The current war raging in Ukraine means happiness in other parts of the world could teeter as well. Marnie Hunter, CNN, 17 Mar. 2022 Marquis: There is an acknowledgment that most companies teeter the scale between good and bad practices. Christopher Marquis, Forbes, 15 Mar. 2022 After a hot start Friday at Little Caesars Arena, the Pistons started to teeter off. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, 5 Mar. 2022 Monkeys teeter precariously on the wires that connect stacked apartment complexes to modernity. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Jan. 2022 But just as the game began to teeter, as a season-opening upset seemed possible, Michigan's offense surged to life. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 11 Nov. 2021 For the near future, Orange County may continue to teeter on either side of the political divide, as when two U.S. House seats that flipped blue in 2018 went red again two years later. Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2021 The news provided some relief to investors and analysts who had once again worried this week that the company, which continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, would slip into its first formal default. Michelle Toh, CNN, 22 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Passersby couldn’t help but spot the eight-foot long, bright yellow teeter-totter, ridden by youth of the church the weekend of March 19-20, in an effort to raise funds for local non-profit agencies. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 25 Mar. 2022 That’s especially true as the value of Russia’s currency plummets and its largest banks teeter. Ian Bremmer, Time, 28 Feb. 2022 Taken by itself, Kat's (Julia Stiles) poem about Patrick (Heath Ledger) is almost saccharine, an edge some rom-com speeches teeter. CNN, 14 Feb. 2022 There is a seamless convergence between Atlanta’s hot-wing culture and Korea’s fried-chicken culture: an emphasis on shattering crispiness and a balance in flavors, most notably the lip-smacking teeter-totter of sour and sweet. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Those trying to change the field teeter between optimism and despair. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 14 Dec. 2021 Republicans briefly flirted with forcing a government shutdown last week over the Democratic president’s health policy, and are letting the debt limit teeter at a perilous economic momentum as the country is still in the middle of a pandemic. Patrick Caldwell, The New Republic, 6 Dec. 2021 As the Chinese real-estate developer and its $300 billion of debt teeter on the edge of default, the turmoil in China’s property market is buffeting stock markets and boosting demand for government bonds. John Detrixhe, Quartz, 22 Sep. 2021 Lerner said both parks are designed as neighborhood tot lots containing similar playground equipment like swings, slides, spinners, teeter totters, slides and similar play elements. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 15 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of teeter


1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1860, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for teeter


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

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Teeter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teeter. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for teeter


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

Kids Definition of teeter

: to move unsteadily back and forth or from side to side Ramona mounted the bicycle and … teetered and wobbled to the corner without falling off.— Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby, Age 8

More from Merriam-Webster on teeter

Nglish: Translation of teeter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of teeter for Arabic Speakers


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