Definition of teeter-totter in English:



North American
  • A seesaw.

    • ‘Your body in water is really a teeter-totter with it's fulcrum somewhere between your waist and your sternum.’
    • ‘Chrissie sighed and sat on one end of a teeter-totter.’
    • ‘Every time I say that, I see something different on the teeter-totter.’
    • ‘You launch circus clowns from a teeter-totter, pop colorful balloons and catch the poor flying fellows, lest they be ill-affected by gravity.’
    • ‘So we have a teeter-totter effect of looking to the past and then looking to the future and then looking to the past…’
    • ‘For example, you might have to devise a contraption where you would get a ball to drop on a teeter-totter, which in turn launches another ball into the air, flicking a switch and turning on an electrical device.’
    • ‘‘I would hang on to the top bar on my swing set and stand on the seat of the teeter-totter,’ Megan reveals.’
    • ‘When the city did demolish three ancient, cement-based teeter-totters in one of the more modern, better-equipped parks, the ragged concrete slabs and chips lay about for weeks before being cleared away.’
    • ‘The obstacles include a raised wooden roller coaster 787 feet long, teeter-totters, and ladder bridges.’
    • ‘We stay right at each turn and we pass the new teeter-totter that I haven't got the guts to try yet.’
    • ‘The two conditions go up and down like a teeter-totter, first one and then the other tipping the balance back.’
    • ‘They are part of a delicately balanced teeter-totter, which can exist in one state or the other, but transits through the middle stage almost overnight.’
    • ‘The playground consisted of two large slides, ten swings, a teeter-totter, sand box, and a large jungle gym to run around in.’
    • ‘Security and privacy are not two sides of a teeter-totter.’
    • ‘She looked around at the other children chasing each other in games of Tag, soaring to the sky on swings, bobbing up and down on the teeter-totters, and bouncing a ball.’
    • ‘Three-year-olds need to be running, jumping, and skipping; they need to be experiencing concepts such as ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ by sitting on a teeter-totter, not by moving a mouse and watching a screen.’


[NO OBJECT]North American
  • Teeter; waver.

    • ‘The teeter-tottering vocal hypnotizes as the pitch leaps up and down in a slow, pastoral drawl.’
    • ‘This said shoe is usually very difficult to walk in, with the wearer teeter-tottering from A to B and back again.’
    • ‘It seemed that all the shops were taking deliveries, with great stacks of boxes teeter-tottering in the aisles.’
    • ‘Jumping up with my other foot on the sill, my black socks teeter-tottered on the sill, swaying back and forth, as did my body.’
    • ‘The teeter-tottering xylophone clomps that used to announce his presence rarely make an appearance without beams of popping noisemakers in tow.’
    • ‘Once the rocks have been placed at the site, he thinks the Egyptians devised a process of teeter-tottering and shimmying - all based on using the weight of the rock to build the elaborate architecture.’
    see-saw, veer, fluctuate, oscillate, swing, yo-yo, alternate
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: reduplication of teeter or totter.