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

For a long time, our imperfection, the fact that we might be revealed not to have perfectly walked the tightrope of female respectability, has been an impetus for women to remain silent. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down," 6 Oct. 2018 Hearing that the mantra doesn’t always work even for a consummate Lean-In tightrope artist like Obama was a liberating moment for many. Aja Romano, Vox, "Michelle Obama “leans in” better than anyone. She just rejected the idea that it works.," 3 Dec. 2018 Stepparenting, like tightrope walking, is a tough act to ace. Nneka Mcguire, chicagotribune.com, "We spoke to stepmoms ahead of Mother’s Day. Here’s what they want you to know.," 9 May 2018 Any activity the group feels may cause pain or bring harm to the elephant—walking a tightrope, riding a bicycle, or doing headstands, for instance—has been prohibited. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Is It Ever Okay to Ride Elephants While on Vacation? It’s Complicated...," 18 Oct. 2018 Security, access to the kinds of outreach events the orchestra wanted to undertake, and the tightrope-walk of managing the orchestra’s reputation were all up for grabs. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "The Philadelphia Orchestra's tour of Europe and Israel is done: What did we learn?," 15 June 2018 By definition, Encores! must always walk that tightrope. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: A Multiple-Exposure ‘Me and My Girl’ at Encores!," 10 May 2018 When the story lines become more complicated, however, that tightrope walk between challenging artistry and mass appeal becomes more precarious. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "NBC's 'Good Girls' aren't bad enough," 26 Feb. 2018 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

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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Statistics for tightrope

Last Updated

1 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tightrope

The first known use of tightrope was in 1801

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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

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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

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).


to deny responsibility for

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