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[tuhch-uh n-goh] /ˈtʌtʃ ənˈgoʊ/
risky; precarious:
a touch-and-go descent down the mountain.
hasty, sketchy, or desultory.
Origin of touch-and-go
First recorded in 1805-15

touch and go

a precarious or delicate state of affairs:
It was touch and go there for a while during the operation.
quick action or movement:
the touch and go of city traffic.
First recorded in 1645-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for touch-and-go
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have here a passage from the diary, where it seems to have been touch-and-go.

    Records of a Family of Engineers Robert Louis Stevenson
  • "It's been touch-and-go as it is," he murmured, pressing his hand against his side.

    Sonia Between two Worlds Stephen McKenna
  • He managed to elude his fellow-countrymen as it happened, but it was "touch-and-go" with him.

  • Facts showed that our belief was right, though it was a touch-and-go chance.

    People of Destiny Philip Gibbs
  • It is a touch-and-go affair; the stimulus presses the button and then subsides, while the neural organization does the rest.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • But it was no joking matter with, me either, my dear fellow; it was touch-and-go at the time.

    A Thief in the Night E. W. Hornung
  • It was touch-and-go with me all the time from the soup down, I assure you.'

    A Diversity of Creatures

    Rudyard Kipling
  • It had been only touch-and-go, but the man's warm Irish heart had saved him.

    The Littlest Rebel Edward Peple
  • These touch-and-go experiments form no part of the strict duties of the chulo; his exclusive province is the banderilla.

British Dictionary definitions for touch-and-go

touch and go

(touch-and-go when prenominal) risky or critical: a touch-and-go situation
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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touch-and-go in Culture

touch and go definition

Uncertain or precarious: “The doctors told the patient that, even though her disease was in remission, from now on it was touch and go.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for touch-and-go

touch and go


Possible but very uncertain; precarious: touch and go for a while, until she saw the doctor

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with touch-and-go

touch and go

Extremely uncertain or risky, as in It was touch and go after the surgery; we were not sure he'd survive it, or It was touch and go but they finally gave me a seat on the plane. This idiom implies that a mere touch may cause a calamity. [ Early 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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