[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. teeny-weeny,
  2. teenybopper,
  3. teepee,
  4. tees,
  5. teesside,
  6. teeterboard,
  7. teetertotter,
  8. teeth,
  9. teeth grinding,
  10. teethe

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for teetering

British Dictionary definitions for teetering


/ (ˈtiːtə) /


to move or cause to move unsteadily; wobble

noun, verb

another word for seesaw

Word Origin for 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

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