Idioms

    on tiptoe,
    1. on the tips of one's toes.
    2. expectant; eager: With Christmas coming, the children were on tiptoe.
    3. stealthily; cautiously: The concert had already begun, so he entered the back of the hall on tiptoe.

Origin of tiptoe

1350–1400; Middle English tiptoon (plural noun). See tip1, toe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for on tiptoe

tiptoe

verb -toes, -toeing or -toed (intr)

to walk with the heels off the ground and the weight supported by the ball of the foot and the toes
to walk silently or stealthily

noun

on tiptoe
  1. on the tips of the toes or on the ball of the foot and the toes
  2. eagerly anticipating something
  3. stealthily or silently

adverb

on tiptoe

adjective

walking or standing on tiptoe
stealthy or silent
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

Word Origin and History for on tiptoe

tiptoe

n.

mid-15c., from tip (n.) + toe. As a verb from 1630s. Related: Tiptoes (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with on tiptoe

on tiptoe

1

Eagerly anticipating something, as in The children were on tiptoe before the birthday party. [Late 1500s]

2

Moving stealthily, warily, as in They went down the hall on tiptoe. [Mid-1700s] Both usages transfer standing on one's toes to a particular reason for doing so; def. 2 alludes to moving more quietly in this fashion.

tiptoe

see on tiptoe.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.