Definition of tightrope in US English:



  • A rope or wire stretched tightly high above the ground, on which acrobats perform feats of balancing.

    as modifier ‘a tightrope walker’
    figurative ‘he continues to walk a tightrope between success and failure’
    • ‘It is a difficult balancing act, but, at the moment, Canadian politicians barely stand on two feet, let alone walk a tightrope of any kind.’
    • ‘So the government is having to walk a tightrope here.’
    • ‘Parents often must balance on a tightrope between giving too much and too little attention to their child's obesity.’
    • ‘All useful thought is founded on these two approaches working in tandem and balancing each other the way a long pole balances a tightrope walker.’
    • ‘A tightrope walker would not attract a second glance if he performed his balancing feat four inches from the ground.’
    • ‘Her tree climbing was often described as how an ox would try to walk a tightrope.’
    • ‘She became a television presenter instead of a tightrope walker.’
    • ‘These include crossing a tightrope, a rope bridge, a swinging log, tyres, a tension traverse and a ‘crocodile pit’.’
    • ‘The men and women who take amazing risks by jumping great distances on motorcycles and in cars, walk thin tightropes high above the ground, and get dangerously close to animals have long been a source of inspiration and shock.’
    • ‘Does this sound like a balancing act on a tightrope?’
    • ‘Audiences too, are drawn to the purity of the form; it's a little like watching someone walk a tightrope or bungee jump.’
    • ‘Rocked by this dizzying mix of emotions, you walk a tightrope, balancing your own needs against those of your loved one.’
    • ‘You'd think she was about to walk a tightrope between two skyscrapers or something!’
    • ‘A couple of the more adventurous and acrobatic have even made the leap from one side of the garden to the other, spinning long tightropes way above head height.’
    • ‘But as matters stand, Scotland are in limbo, consigned to treading a tightrope with players balancing jobs and sport.’
    • ‘They walk a tightrope between triumph and disaster.’
    • ‘Sometimes, when moving along a large branch, or on the ground, they stand upright with their arms held high for balance, like a tightrope walker.’
    • ‘He has to walk a tightrope, not just one, but many, strung between all the many factions of this deeply divided nation.’
    • ‘Comedians always seem to walk a tightrope between pathos and humour.’
    • ‘To write without thinking is to walk a tightrope with no net.’


[no object]
  • Walk or perform on a tightrope.