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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tiptoeing

Contemporary Examples of tiptoeing

  • So, like real pumas, the women who waited to see are just tiptoeing away, catlike, from the battle.

    The Daily Beast logo
    White Women Dump the Dems

    Linda Hirshman

    September 27, 2010

  • Others are tiptoeing around the second item, as Elizabeth launches the latest book in her oeuvre of misfortune: Resilience.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Elizabeth Edwards the Hypocrite

    Kathleen Parker

    May 6, 2009

Historical Examples of tiptoeing

  • "Yes, Uncle Matthew," John answered, tiptoeing to the side of the bed.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The unconscious stealth of her tiptoeing to the landing outside.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • He was tiptoeing towards the door, along the wall, where he was out of line with the keyhole.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Tiptoeing to the door, Jewel closed it and began to inspect her new apartment.


    Clara Louise Burnham

  • From that I concluded that he had either stopped or had taken to tiptoeing, too.

    Boy Scouts in the North Sea

    G. Harvey Ralphson

British Dictionary definitions for tiptoeing


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


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


on tiptoe


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 tiptoeing



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 tiptoeing


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.