tight·​rope | \ ˈtīt-ˌrōp How to pronounce tightrope (audio) \

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 Those schools who freeze tuition are walking a tightrope. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "U-M board rejects administration's budget request, including 1.9% tuition increase," 25 June 2020 Cincinnati Public Schools will try to walk a tightrope when school starts back up, balancing between student and staff safety and pupils' academic needs. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "CPS narrows back-to-school proposals. Most options have mix of remote, in-person learning.," 23 June 2020 Those schools who freeze tuition are walking a tightrope. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Universities gamble on tuition freezes, hope students will stay and finances won't dive," 15 June 2020 But despite the cry for reform from many quarters, black mayors still have a tightrope to walk, says Ravi Perry, chair and professor of political science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. USA TODAY, "For black mayors, police reforms are a personal mission to make sure 'another black man doesn't die the way George Floyd did'," 12 June 2020 Others walk a delicate legal tightrope, with the threat of a crackdown always hanging over their heads. James Griffiths, CNN, "This US church with expansion in its DNA wants to open a temple in China," 6 June 2020 Come May 15, Oregon will take its first steps along the tightrope of reopening public life, tentatively lifting its coronavirus stay-home order and once again changing the rules of social and economic engagement across the state. oregonlive, "Oregon reopening starts May 15 under governor’s coronavirus plan," 7 May 2020 This will probably be a bit like walking the tightrope. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'Like walking the tightrope': Some European countries poised to begin easing lockdown restrictions," 8 Apr. 2020 Marmee expertly walks the tightrope between teaching her girls about life and allowing them to learn for themselves through not-always-happy experience. oregonlive, "10 books with memorable moms for Mother’s Day," 6 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of tightrope

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for tightrope

Time Traveler

The first known use of tightrope was in 1801

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Statistics for tightrope

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tightrope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tightrope. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for tightrope


How to pronounce tightrope (audio)

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 How to pronounce tightrope (audio) \

Kids Definition of tightrope

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tightrope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tightrope

Spanish Central: Translation of tightrope

Nglish: Translation of tightrope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tightrope

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