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.

    • ‘Swings, a see-saw and a slide had already been ordered.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This week some swings and see-saws have been put in the site.’
    • ‘Some brought see-saws, slides and swings to their frames.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It journeys through an assault course of fields, hills, rivers, woods, a see-saw and other exciting obstacles.’
    • ‘Greta told me of her childhood when she enjoyed visits to Feniscowles Hall, which then had pleasure gardens with swings and see-saws.’
    • ‘Every block has a park with the usual swing, see-saw and playthings.’
    • ‘When not on the beach, Rian enjoyed the children's playground, which offered a slide, swings, see-saw and fortress.’
    • ‘Thirteen children's playgrounds are to be shut down but swings, see-saws and slides on six other sites are to be saved.’
    • ‘Therefore, he had plenty of time for such wholesome activities as sitting motionless on the edge of a see-saw.’
    • ‘The display now includes a see-saw, rocking horse, Santas, gnomes and elves.’
    • ‘All the traditional features, such as climbing frames, swings, see-saws and slides, can be seen but there is so much more besides.’
    1. 1.1 A 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 emotional see-saw of her life so far, with its successes and failures, knows few limits.’
      • ‘In these see-saw markets, in whom, or what, do we trust?’
      • ‘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.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Change 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Volatility was rife in the markets last week, with all major indexes see-sawing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, you see-saw between overconfidence and self-doubt.’
    • ‘During that period his condition would see-saw and we were not sure if he would pull through.’
    • ‘The momentum and fatigue factors see-sawed back and forth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The London Market's fortunes continued to see-saw yesterday as the City digested yet another dramatic session.’
    • ‘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. 1.1with object Cause (something) to move back and forth or up and down rapidly and repeatedly.
      ‘Sybil see-sawed the car back and forth’
      fluctuate, swing, go from one extreme to the other, go up and down, rise and fall, oscillate, alternate, yo-yo, teeter, be unstable, be unsteady, vary, shift, sway, ebb and flow
      View synonyms

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/