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)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for teeter

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 And as psychedelics teeter on the brink of legitimacy, more and more people are learning these cultivation methods. Joanna Steinhardt, Wired, "Hackers, Mason Jars, and the Psychedelic Science of DIY Shrooms," 12 Feb. 2021 The core principles -- selflessness, competitiveness and togetherness -- shall not teeter. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers searching for small victories as injuries mount," 13 Jan. 2021 Such a shape-shifting track could easily teeter into messy territory, but the soloist makes the track both accessible and exciting with his sunny rap style and masterful triplet expertise. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 20 Best K-Pop Songs of 2020: Staff List," 23 Dec. 2020 The year 2021 already promised to teeter toward the apocalyptic in baseball, with owners and players deep into a state of mutual distrust and a collective bargaining agreement that expires next December. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "MLB says 2021 season will begin April 1, but that might be wishful thinking," 11 Dec. 2020 Right now, there's a golden opportunity to save on Hunter boots, which normally teeter in the triple digits. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Hunter boots are majorly discounted for Nordstrom's huge Cyber Monday 2020 sale," 1 Dec. 2020 There’s long been an expectation that women would teeter down the red carpet on stilettos. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "The creative mind behind Valentino believes we all need beauty now — even if we can’t afford it.," 16 Nov. 2020 At a time when forests are burning at an unprecedented rate and a million plant and animal species teeter on the edge of extinction, indigenous land management could play a key role in the fight against climate change. Clarissa Dawes, National Geographic, "How First Nations-led protests in Canada sparked a conservation movement," 11 Oct. 2020 That's because the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 could teeter around its 200-day average, Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson writes, which would spell another double-digit tumble from current levels. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "As the bull market turns 6 months old, markets are testing a key level," 22 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The most stable place on a teeter-totter is in the middle. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 12, 2021: Happy birthday Issa Rae; Scorpio, don’t take sides," 12 Jan. 2021 Skeletal, charred trees and cactus fried to a crisp teeter creepily over scorched earth backed by distant views of Weavers Needle in the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks in the Mazatzal Mountains. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "Sears Fire scorched part of this AZ hike, but its beauty remains. Here's how to do it," 8 Dec. 2020 And many more teeter on the economic brink, experts say. NBC News, "Primary care offices struggling to survive during Covid-19," 30 Nov. 2020 In 2019, the pair installed three pink teeter-totters across the gaps in the border wall, offering Americans and Mexicans a literal fulcrum on which to balance their common humanity. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "How to Remember," 24 Nov. 2020 What has apparently happened with Toobs seems to straddle that fine line, teeter, then pitch over into foul territory. The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten," 20 Oct. 2020 There’s a 12-mile mountain biking trail that winds through this part of the park, as well as a FitPark Ride, a skills course for bikers with numerous manmade obstacles, including ladders, teeter-totters and more. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Overnighting in Toledo’s magical new treehouse village, where the sounds of the forest come to life," 15 Oct. 2020 Kathleen Gerson, a professor of sociology at New York University who began researching work-life integration around the same time as Friedman, agrees that a work-life convergence is healthier than trying to stabilize a precarious teeter-totter. Leigh Giangreco, Washington Post, "At work while at home: The new paradigm," 14 Oct. 2020 This effectively eliminates the very need for the teeter-totter itself. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: The election, the pandemic, climate change, Minneapolis housing, University of Minnesota sports," 2 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about teeter

Statistics for teeter

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Teeter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teeter. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for teeter



English Language Learners Definition of teeter

: to move in an unsteady way back and forth or from side to side


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on teeter

What made you want to look up teeter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!