tip·​toe | \ ˈtip-ˌtō, -ˈtō\

Definition of tiptoe 

(Entry 1 of 4)

: the position of being balanced on the balls of the feet and toes with the heels raised usually used with on also : the ends of the toes
on tiptoe
: alert, aroused the contest of skill that puts one on tiptoe to winDeerfield (Wisc.) Independent


tiptoed; tiptoeing

Definition of tiptoe (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to walk or proceed quietly or cautiously on or as if on tiptoe tiptoe around the issue
2 : to stand or raise oneself on tiptoe



Definition of tiptoe (Entry 3 of 4)

: on or as if on tiptoe



Definition of tiptoe (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : standing or walking on or as if on tiptoe

Examples of tiptoe in a Sentence


She tiptoed through the puddle. He tiptoed quietly around the house to avoid waking the children.


She had to stand tiptoe to reach the shelf.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In America’s Game, the end of an era departed on tiptoe. Michael Farber, SI.com, "Mark Moseley, Last of the Straight-On Kickers," 2 July 2018 The room was hot and sweaty and smelled like feet, and Red Bull skydiver Jeff Provenzano was struggling to hold a squat on tiptoe. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "This Pro Skydiver Was Invincible—Until his Heart Stopped Beating Regularly," 22 June 2018 The tiptoe toward retirement carries far greater importance than the typical executive turnover. Philip Elliott, Time, "Billionaire Industrialist David Koch Retires From Business and Politics," 5 June 2018 Many of the women’s turns were executed with the foot on half tiptoe rather than fully on the tips of the toes. New York Times, "In ‘Harlequinade,’ Gestures Dance, and Dances Tell Stories," 29 May 2018 Austin departs on her tiptoes, probably ferried in a chariot pulled by centaurs. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "What Statement Should Your Wedding Cake Make?," 17 May 2018 As Yong reports, another set of human prints—which were much fainter, as if the person was moving on tiptoes—approaches from the opposite direction. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Fossil Tracks May Record Ancient Humans Hunting Giant Sloths," 30 Apr. 2018 Spectators spring onto their tiptoes; a kid whoops and punches the air as the sled barrels through curve six. Nick Pachelli, Esquire, "Justin Olsen Will Get Lost," 8 Feb. 2018 The ones that want to get the information out kind of tiptoe around. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Glowing balls spotted near Charlotte as scientists look for aliens | Charlotte Observer," 10 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The court also tiptoed near major rulings on gay rights and partisan gerrymandering of voting maps, only to put them off for another day. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Opens New Term Without Ninth Justice in Place," 30 Sep. 2018 But the administration has since tiptoed away from that rhetoric, trying to separate the two negotiations. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The NAFTA deadline is Sunday. What happens if there’s no deal?," 29 Sep. 2018 Perhaps the most telling move came Tuesday, when Iran began to tiptoe back toward building up its nuclear capabilities. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "It looks like Iran’s turn to sink the nuclear deal," 6 June 2018 As Alcantara tiptoed through trouble on the mound, the Marlins’ future at the plate flexed his muscles. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Marlins' future on display as Sandy Alcantara, Lewis Brinson lead Miami past Mets," 30 June 2018 As Coutinho lounged on the turf with a couple of others at Brazil’s training facility in Sochi, Russia, Neymar put his fingers to his lips and tiptoed up behind his teammate. Rory Smith, New York Times, "All Eyes Are on Neymar, but It’s Coutinho Who Is Leading Brazil," 28 June 2018 When spiders tiptoe, lift their abdomen, and release silk, the strands pick up a negative charge. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Spiders Can Fly Through the Air for Miles Using Electricity, Study Finds," 6 July 2018 Agholor tiptoed in bounds after the rolling Foles found him on a comeback. Jeff Mclane, Philly.com, "Eagles practice observations: Jalen Mills locks down; Nelson Agholor explodes; Dallas Goedert catches on," 13 June 2018 Class speaker Zenzele Price was frank about the uncertainty of tiptoeing to the cusp of adulthood. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Anita Hill, Tapped to Replace Keynote Speaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Warns Wesleyan Graduates of "Uncertain Times" Ahead," 27 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1661, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1592, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for tiptoe

The first known use of tiptoe was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tiptoe



English Language Learners Definition of tiptoe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: with your toes touching the ground and your heels raised up



English Language Learners Definition of tiptoe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to walk with your heels raised up and only your toes touching the ground


tip·​toe | \ ˈtip-ˌtō \

Kids Definition of tiptoe

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the position of being balanced on the balls of the feet and toes with the heels raised usually used with on He stood on tiptoe.

Kids Definition of tiptoe (Entry 2 of 3)

: on or as if on the balls of the feet and toes with the heels raised I walked tiptoe past the dog.


tiptoed; tiptoeing

Kids Definition of tiptoe (Entry 3 of 3)

: to walk on the balls of the feet and toes with the heels raised

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More from Merriam-Webster on tiptoe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tiptoe

Spanish Central: Translation of tiptoe

Nglish: Translation of tiptoe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tiptoe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tiptoe

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


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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