tottering

[ tot-er-ing ]
/ ˈtɒt ər ɪŋ /

adjective

walking unsteadily or shakily.
lacking security or stability; threatening to collapse; precarious: a tottering empire.

Nearby words

  1. totowa,
  2. totsiens,
  3. totten trust,
  4. tottenham,
  5. totter,
  6. totteringly,
  7. tottery,
  8. tottie,
  9. totting,
  10. totty

Origin of tottering


Related formstot·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·tot·ter·ing, adjective

totter

[ tot-er ]
/ ˈtɒt ər /

verb (used without object)

to walk or go with faltering steps, as if from extreme weakness.
to sway or rock on the base or ground, as if about to fall: The tower seemed to totter in the wind. The government was tottering.
to shake or tremble: a load that tottered.

noun

the act of tottering; an unsteady movement or gait.

Origin of totter

1150–1200; Middle English toteren to swing < ?

SYNONYMS FOR totter
1. See stagger. 2. waver. 3. oscillate, quiver.

Related formstot·ter·er, noun

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

Examples from the Web for tottering


British Dictionary definitions for tottering

totter

/ (ˈtɒtə) /

verb (intr)

to walk or move in an unsteady manner, as from old age
to sway or shake as if about to fall
to be failing, unstable, or precarious

noun

the act or an instance of tottering
Derived Formstotterer, nountottering, adjectivetotteringly, adverbtottery, adjective

Word Origin for totter

C12: perhaps from Old English tealtrian to waver, and Middle Dutch touteren to stagger

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 tottering

totter

v.

c.1200, "swing to and fro," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian totra "to quiver, shake"). Meaning "stand or walk with shaky, unsteady steps" is from c.1600. Related: Tottered; tottering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper