tight·rope | \ ˈtīt-ˌrōp \

Definition of tightrope 

1 : a rope or wire stretched taut for acrobats to perform on

2 : a dangerously precarious situation usually used in the phrase walk a tightrope

Examples of tightrope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Mayor Joe Hogsett's administration has sought to walk a tightrope between welcoming scooter operators and asking them for cooperation as the city reviews business practices and safety measures. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Now that electric scooters are all over Indianapolis, they're not going away," 28 June 2018 Roger Miller was widely considered a genius, a songwriter and singer who could could walk a tightrope between humor and devastating poignancy. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Roger Miller tribute pulls three Houston singer-songwriters," 21 June 2018 But Exodus, at least in its preview state, still struggles to walk the tightrope between meaningful challenge and unfair insanity. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Metro Exodus world premiere: Could this be the Half-Life 3 we always wanted?," 13 June 2018 Mountain: Climbers, tightrope walkers, mountain bikers and others set out to conquer the highest peaks in the world in this documentary. San Francisco Chronicle, "New movies: Shailene Woodley finds herself “Adrift”," 29 May 2018 Ryan’s tightrope walk continued after Trump entered the White House. Larry Bartels, Washington Post, "How Paul Ryan lost the Republican Party," 15 Apr. 2018 Walking that tightrope has been a significant challenge. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler Is Off to a Brutal Start, But It's Just the Beginning of His Experiment," 4 Apr. 2018 The spat illustrates the tightrope May must walk to retain the support of both wings of her party. Tim Ross, Bloomberg.com, "May Rebukes Hammond for Suggesting Only ‘Modest’ Brexit Changes," 25 Jan. 2018 Arrowhead starting pitcher Davis Zeutzius battled with command and had to walk a tightrope in the early innings. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On Zak Karrels' dramatic walk-off homer to down Janesville Craig, Arrowhead reaches the state championship game," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tightrope.' 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 tightrope

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tightrope

Statistics for tightrope

Last Updated

30 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tightrope

The first known use of tightrope was in 1801

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tightrope



English Language Learners Definition of tightrope

: a tightly stretched rope or wire high above the ground that a performer walks on, does tricks on, etc., especially in a circus


tight·rope | \ ˈtīt-ˌrōp \

Kids Definition of tightrope

: a rope or wire stretched tight on which an acrobat performs

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tightrope

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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