tip·​toe | \ ˈtip-ˌtō How to pronounce tiptoe (audio) , -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

Verb She tiptoed through the puddle. He tiptoed quietly around the house to avoid waking the children. Adverb She had to stand tiptoe to reach the shelf.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Still, the heart of this fundraiser beats for Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, who this year celebrates a record-breaking 35 seasons on his tiptoes, leading this world-class company in exquisite artistry. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "Holiday Heroes take the field at Oracle Park for 10th annual fundraiser," 30 Dec. 2019 In his illustration, Mr. Zubaydah shows himself nude and shackled at the wrists to a bar above his head, forced to stand on tiptoe. Carol Rosenberg, New York Times, "What the C.I.A.’s Torture Program Looked Like to the Tortured," 4 Dec. 2019 But despite the injury, Kutcher seemed spry on his feet during his visit to the Kelly and Ryan studio, even getting up on tiptoe in honor of the Guinness World Record that Ripa, 48, broke with 305 other dancers on Tuesday morning. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Ashton Kutcher Broke His Toe Trying to Put His Daughter Wyatt to Bed: 'I Just Go Down'," 10 Sep. 2019 On that day, the overwhelming majority of fans in the area were focused on Court 14, where an overflow crowd stood on tiptoes to watch the Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Finding an Oasis at Tennis’s Most Crowded Major," 4 June 2019 This means that in their board meetings, people talk on tiptoe. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Opinions Collide in the Explosive Comedy ‘Eureka Day’," 29 Aug. 2019 Patients should not have to guard against hostile providers or navigate the health care system on tiptoe. Amy Stulman, Quartz, "Going to the doctor can be a traumatic experience for trans patients—but one piece of paper would help change that," 10 Sep. 2019 On Tuesday, the Live with Kelly and Ryan host shared a very impressive photo of herself wearing some satin pointe shoes and balancing on her tiptoes. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Kelly Ripa Shows Off Her Impressive Ballet Skills Balancing on Her Toes in Pointe Shoes," 14 Aug. 2019 As the song approached its end, Brown stood tall on his tiptoes, then shimmied his way down, line by line, bringing all the voices to a whisper. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Their music was ready to spill out. All they needed was a piano.," 27 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Joe Kent, a former Green Beret who served in Yemen and parts of Africa, said the public’s disengagement from Afghanistan allowed three presidents to tiptoe through the war without any pressure from voters. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "‘Our friends didn’t have to die’: Afghanistan Papers surface pain and familiar frustrations," 10 Dec. 2019 Also known as the Vietnamese mouse-deer, the fanged animal was spotted tiptoeing through the forest. National Geographic, "How do we stop animal cruelty?," 14 Nov. 2019 Even before the SiriusXM show, Franken has been tiptoeing back into public life. Nick Turner, Bloomberg.com, "Al Franken Pursues Comeback With New Radio Show on SiriusXM," 25 Sep. 2019 The boys of winter leave warm beds in darkness, tiptoeing out of bedrooms, lugging heavy bags, sticks, and skates. BostonGlobe.com, "Perfect way to start the day? Hockey at the crack of dawn works for them - The Boston Globe," 25 Nov. 2019 Dual-motor compact SUV expected to arrive in U.S. stores in the second half of next year Swedish automaker Volvo Cars has tiptoed into the electric vehicle market, making a safe choice with the platform du jour — a crossover. Urvaksh Karkaria, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Volvo XC40 Recharge EV delivers 408 hp," 18 Oct. 2019 In Indiana Jones fashion, Douglas’s book tiptoes through the landmines of contemporary politics. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "An Interview with Douglas Murray: Gender, Race, and Identity," 1 Oct. 2019 That’s a startling fact that’s hard for anyone to tiptoe around. Kent Somers, azcentral, "The concern is real: David Johnson's performance and contract are weighing down the Cardinals," 11 Nov. 2019 Facebook is tiptoeing around accusations of anti-conservative bias while Republican lawmakers shout about free speech on commercial platforms. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Inside R/Relationships, The Unbearably Human Corner of Reddit," 23 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tiptoe

Last Updated

2 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tiptoe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tiptoe. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tiptoe



English Language Learners Definition of tiptoe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

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


tip·​toe | \ ˈtip-ˌtō How to pronounce tiptoe (audio) \

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 onHe 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

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