[ tee-ter ]
See synonyms for: teeterteeteredteetering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to move unsteadily.

  2. to ride a seesaw; teetertotter.

verb (used with object)
  1. to tip (something) up and down; move unsteadily.

  1. a seesaw motion; wobble.

  2. 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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use teeter in a sentence

  • He got up, planted both feet on it and teetered back and forth, chuckling up at Bud with his eyes squinted.

    Cabin Fever | B. M. Bower
  • For a moment the machine teetered, its wheels spinning wildly.

    The Status Civilization | Robert Sheckley
  • "Well—" He teetered a little on his feet and stroked his mustache.

    Hidden Gold | Wilder Anthony
  • He saw Darl strike its edge, bit his lip as his friend teetered on the rim and swayed slowly outward.

    The Great Dome on Mercury | Arthur Leo Zagat
  • Aggie teetered joyously, the while she inhaled a shockingly large mouthful of smoke.

    Within the Law | Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for teeter


/ (ˈtiːtə) /

  1. to move or cause to move unsteadily; wobble

noun, verb
  1. another word for seesaw

Origin of teeter

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