- a recreation in which two children alternately ride up and down while seated at opposite ends of a plank balanced at the middle.
- a plank or apparatus for this recreation.
- an up-and-down or a back-and-forth movement or procedure.
- Whist. a crossruff.
- moving up and down, back and forth, or alternately ahead and behind: It was a seesaw game with the lead changing hands many times.
- to move in a seesaw manner: The boat seesawed in the heavy sea.
- to ride or play on a seesaw.
- to keep changing one's decision, opinion, or attitude; vacillate.
- to cause to move in a seesaw manner.
Origin of seesaw
1630–40 as part of a jingle accompanying a children's game; gradational compound based on saw1
Regional variation note
Although seesaw (def. 2) is the most widely used term in the U.S., teetertotter is also in wide use in the Northern, North Midland, and Western regions. Tilting board and its variants tilt board and tiltering board are New Eng. terms, especially Eastern New Eng., while tinter and its variant teenter are associated with Western New Eng.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for seesaw
Absent a complete ban, or total irrationality, judges should simply step off the seesaw.
If the government infringes a protected right, one side of the seesaw goes in the air and the right is lifted and protected.
After months of seesaw battles in the Sahara Desert, Libya's rebels are now making their first serious push to Tripoli.The Battle for Tripoli
August 22, 2011
They are blame and guilt, and they are like the two ends of a seesaw.When You Don't Know Where to Turn
Steven J. Bartlett
That's the way of the world, though, seesaw, one up and the other down.Asa Holmes
Annie Fellows Johnston
They seesaw backward and forward, first one way and then the other.Geoffrey Hampstead
Thomas Stinson Jarvis
He pressed him to end the seesaw policy of the last six months.The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2)
John Holland Rose
The boys also spin tops, and they play "seesaw," and jump the rope.Big People and Little People of Other Lands
Edward R. Shaw
- a plank balanced in the middle so that two people seated on the ends can ride up and down by pushing on the ground with their feet
- the pastime of riding up and down on a seesaw
- an up-and-down or back-and-forth movement
- (as modifier)a seesaw movement
- (intr) to move up and down or back and forth in such a manner; oscillate
C17: reduplication of saw 1, alluding to the movement from side to side, as in sawing
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