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 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 Now, as the consequences of light pollution tiptoe from the shadows and into the spotlight, cities, regulatory agencies, and conservation groups are agitating for solutions. Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic, "Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price," 3 Apr. 2019 The shoe also re-triggers the childhood trauma of seeing Barbie’s foot, frozen in an exaggerated tiptoe extension for eternity. Christine Lennon, WSJ, "Why the Shiny Nude Pump Must Die," 31 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thankfully, their talent mostly overcomes this obstacle, but not without the production spending the first act (the one with some of the best lines) apologizing and tiptoeing its way around it. Jim Rutter, Philly.com, "At Hedgerow: 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (and, for this play, being youngish)," 6 May 2018 One scene includes an eerie Manson interlude Before they are properly introduced in the film, a group of women in the Manson Family wander the streets, tiptoeing over sofas, looking for things to take home. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," 29 July 2019 Though Taylor tiptoed past Mike Trout (infield pop-up) and Shohei Ohtani (groundball forceout at the plate), he was replaced with two outs by Marcus Walden, with manager Alex Cora electing a right-on-right matchup against slugger Albert Pujols. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "Mookie Betts homers in first, 15th innings as Red Sox outlast Angels," 31 Aug. 2019 GameStop has also tiptoed into e-sports with sponsorships of teams in North Texas. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "GameStop lays off 120, mostly at its Grapevine headquarters," 20 Aug. 2019 Then reality tiptoed right back onto the scene as many either have already forgotten those remarks or had no idea they were ever uttered given what Biden said the very next day. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Opinion: I’m Not Overlooking Joe Biden’s Gaffes Just Because Donald Trump Is A Racist Simpleton," 14 Aug. 2019 This raises a question: Are members of the news media tiptoeing around obvious questions about Trump's instability? Brian Stelter, CNN, "The hardest Trump story for the press to cover: His fitness for the job," 25 Aug. 2019 For Pyongyang, the state dispatches must convey frustration while tiptoeing around wording that would signal rash military action or upset Mr. Trump. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "North Korea Fires Insults at U.S., Spares Trump," 15 June 2019 Every year there seem to be a few teams tiptoeing over dangerous waters. Conor Orr, SI.com, "The NFL’s Five Most Combustible Teams," 9 July 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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Statistics for tiptoe

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

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)

: 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

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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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