teeter

verb
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

teeter

noun

Definition of teeter (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for teeter

Synonyms: Verb

falter, rock, totter, waver, wobble (also wabble)

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

She’s as out-there as a fashion figure gets, and is often seen teetering around the exceedingly casual town in platform boots and enormous jewelry. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Most Stylish Movies and TV Shows of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 With the immigration bills teetering in the House, the White House launched an eleventh-hour push to try to bring Republicans onboard. Lisa Mascaro And Alan Fram, BostonGlobe.com, "House struggles to unite behind bills to stem border crisis," 20 June 2018 Comfortable enough to get me to and from work without wasting any time teetering around in the cold yet chic enough to be worn in the office—and just about anywhere. Anny Choi, Vogue, "Vogue Staffers Pick the Best Shoes to Wear to Work This Winter," 25 Jan. 2019 Kathryn took the maximalist route instead, leaning up art behind the stacks, allowing some to teeter high and others to stay low. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "Kathryn M. Ireland's Kitchen Is A Treasure Trove Of Design Ideas," 22 Jan. 2019 Tampa Bay missed the playoffs nine of its first 10 seasons, but won a championship in 2004 before teetering financially. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Mixed results: A half-century of trial and error with NHL expansion franchises," 5 Dec. 2018 This spring, at least a dozen women donned graduation caps and robes and teetered in high heels through the campus of Mosul University. Sophia Jones, Marie Claire, "The Truth About The Wives of ISIS," 4 Oct. 2018 That's a remarkable feat considering that 10 years ago, Buick's sales sputtered and the brand teetered on the edge of GM's chopping block, along with the now-defunct Pontiac and Saturn brands. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "The GM brand that nearly died and the unlikely buyers saving it," 27 June 2018 Mendelson believes his opponent is peddling easy answers and understating the precarious state of the city’s finances, which are governed by a set of rules put in place after the District teetered on insolvency in the 1990s. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "Why this D.C. Council race is a proxy fight over the city’s future," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

LeBoutillier notes that while her business teeters, Trump companies have hired H-2B foreigners. Jeff Gammage, Philly.com, "Hire American? Without foreign workers, a Chesco garden business could wither," 20 Apr. 2018 His rule—and his family’s security and fortune—already teeters under pressure of regional migration and domestic Palestinian discontent. Daniel J. Arbess, WSJ, "The True-State Solution," 2 Jan. 2019 Even after cutting so many corners, Fortnite on the S8+ only teeters on the edge of 30fps performance, with acceptable, iOS- and Switch-like stutters when aiming the game's camera at simpler scenes. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Fortnite on Android gets off to a bumpy, Samsung-only start, lags behind PUBG," 14 Aug. 2018 Built in the atrium of the Hangzhou Star Avenue Mall, the Neobio Family Park makes the teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds of the past feel like ancient toys. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Feast your eyes on this next-level indoor park," 14 Aug. 2018 The nation’s housing market teeters on a mountain of debt, and low-interest loans from state banks have built overcapacity in many industries. Steven Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s trade spat is rattling China’s leaders and economy," 14 Aug. 2018 First Suburb by Chana Porter *World Premiere* November 16 – December 19, 2018 Five preteens teeter on the brink of adolescence when a shocking and violent act interrupts their insular world of personal struggles and triumphs. Wei-huan Chen, Houston Chronicle, "Catastrophic Theatre's 2018-19 season features Will Eno and Robert O'Hara," 27 June 2018 Instead of stitching the hipbelt to the back panel, Kelty feeds it behind the lumbar pad and allows it a few millimeters of movement, as if each wing of the hipbelt were a playground teeter-totter. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 Illinois teeters on the edge of a recession because union pension obligations are far too high to repay at any tax rate. Michael Hicks, Indianapolis Star, "Hicks: Ruling against public-sector unions makes us freer," 1 July 2018

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

Verb

1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1860, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for teeter

Verb

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

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for teeter

The first known use of teeter was in 1844

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for teeter

teeter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of teeter

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

teeter

verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on teeter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with teeter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for teeter

Spanish Central: Translation of teeter

Nglish: Translation of teeter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of teeter for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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