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walk a tightrope

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Also, be on a tightrope. Take or be on a very precarious course, as in A university press must walk a tightrope to publish scholarly books and still make money, or The general was on a tightrope as to whether he should advance or retreat. This idiom transfers the balancing act performed by tightrope or high-wire acrobats to other concerns. [First half of 1900s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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