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90s Slang You Should Know


[tee-ter] /ˈti tər/ Chiefly Northern U.S.
verb (used without object)
to move unsteadily.
to ride a seesaw; teetertotter.
verb (used with object)
to tip (something) up and down; move unsteadily.
a seesaw motion; wobble.
a seesaw; teetertotter.
Origin of teeter
1835-45; variant of dial. titter, Middle English titeren < Old Norse titra tremble; cognate with German zittern to tremble, quiver Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for teetering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Alone he stands for the most part, smoking his black pipe and teetering gently from one foot to the other.

  • Only his mind was under attack, only his mind was afraid, teetering on the edge of control.

    The Dark Door Alan Edward Nourse
  • Then she flew to the log where Peter Piper had been teetering up and down, and what she said to him I do not know.

    Bird Stories Edith M. Patch
  • Meet him in the woods, teetering along, and he is the less concerned of the two.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • The little owls got up on the edge of the hollow and there they sat, teetering and flapping and afraid to fly.

    The Counterpane Fairy Katharine Pyle
British Dictionary definitions for teetering


to move or cause to move unsteadily; wobble
noun, verb
another word for seesaw
Word Origin
C19: from Middle English titeren, related to Old Norse titra to tremble, Old High German zittarōn to shiver
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for teetering



1843, "to seesaw," alteration of Middle English titter "move unsteadily," probably from Old Norse titra "to shake, shiver, totter," related to German zittern "to tremble." Noun teeter-totter "see-saw" is attested from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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