Definition of see-saw in English:

see-saw

noun

  • 1A long plank balanced in the middle on a fixed support, on each end of which children sit and swing up and down by pushing the ground alternately with their feet.

    • ‘Some brought see-saws, slides and swings to their frames.’
    • ‘If this proposed standard is adopted, it will outlaw all but the tiniest horses and it also affects other indoor toys such as swings and see-saws.’
    • ‘All the traditional features, such as climbing frames, swings, see-saws and slides, can be seen but there is so much more besides.’
    • ‘When not on the beach, Rian enjoyed the children's playground, which offered a slide, swings, see-saw and fortress.’
    • ‘It journeys through an assault course of fields, hills, rivers, woods, a see-saw and other exciting obstacles.’
    • ‘Every block has a park with the usual swing, see-saw and playthings.’
    • ‘Therefore, he had plenty of time for such wholesome activities as sitting motionless on the edge of a see-saw.’
    • ‘Swings, a see-saw and a slide had already been ordered.’
    • ‘There have already been hundreds of people coming to this park, and because there is such a big demand, we are planning on adding a second set of swings, see-saws, sand pit and benches.’
    • ‘The display now includes a see-saw, rocking horse, Santas, gnomes and elves.’
    • ‘Greta told me of her childhood when she enjoyed visits to Feniscowles Hall, which then had pleasure gardens with swings and see-saws.’
    • ‘Thirteen children's playgrounds are to be shut down but swings, see-saws and slides on six other sites are to be saved.’
    • ‘This week some swings and see-saws have been put in the site.’
    1. 1.1A situation characterized by rapid, repeated changes from one state or condition to another.
      ‘the emotional see-saw of a first love affair’
      [as modifier] ‘see-saw interest rates’
      • ‘The intellectual see-saw continues as we're carefully guided through an ethical minefield of technologies.’
      • ‘Few contests ever have involved so much see-saw emotion.’
      • ‘In these see-saw markets, in whom, or what, do we trust?’
      • ‘The emotional see-saw of her life so far, with its successes and failures, knows few limits.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Change rapidly and repeatedly from one position, situation, or condition to another and back again.

    ‘the market see-sawed as rumours spread of an imminent cabinet reshuffle’
    • ‘Fuel surcharges have see-sawed this year, going up to as high as US $112 per container.’
    • ‘In the weeks that followed, Japanese policy toward China see-sawed several times, but generally moved towards greater mobilization and tougher demands.’
    • ‘He often seems to see-saw on issues, and even his advocates find this to be a very weak point in his campaign for presidency.’
    • ‘The momentum and fatigue factors see-sawed back and forth.’
    • ‘The match, played in ideal conditions, kept the large attendance enthralled for long periods of the opening half as the lead see-sawed back and forth, first one side gaining the initiative then the other.’
    • ‘During that period his condition would see-saw and we were not sure if he would pull through.’
    • ‘The London Market's fortunes continued to see-saw yesterday as the City digested yet another dramatic session.’
    • ‘Volatility was rife in the markets last week, with all major indexes see-sawing.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, you see-saw between overconfidence and self-doubt.’
    • ‘First, it is suggested that successive attempts to expound a Marxian theory of nature have see-sawed between naturalistic and social constructionist positions.’
    change, fluctuate, oscillate, waver, alternate, yo-yo, vary, shift, alter, undulate, ebb and flow, rise and fall, go up and down, go back and forth
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Cause (something) to move back and forth or up and down rapidly and repeatedly.
      ‘Sybil see-sawed the car back and forth’

Origin

Mid 17th century (originally used by sawyers as a rhythmical refrain): reduplication of the verb saw (symbolic of the sawing motion).

Pronunciation:

see-saw

/ˈsiːsɔː/