Definition of teeter in English:

teeter

Syllabification: tee·ter
Pronunciation: /ˈtētər
 
/

verb

[no object]
  • 1Move or balance unsteadily; sway back and forth: she teetered after him in her high-heeled sandals
    More example sentences
    • Cows wander the streets, ragged children pester dogs with sticks, tailors teeter past on bicycles balancing bolts of fabric.
    • My legs, which I was already teetering on with dubious balance, seemed to give out and I collapsed, curling into a miserable ball under the glass.
    • I heard heavy footsteps on the porch steps and glanced over as the guy almost fell but grabbed the railing, teetering to the left unsteadily with a quiet laugh.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1 (often teeter between) Be unable to decide between different courses; waver: she teetered between tears and anger
    More example sentences
    • And the market simply teeters back and forth, worrying and then feeling relieved again.
    • Over the past 29 months, the family has teetered back and forth between several of the possibilities, convinced at times of one, then another.
    • At the very least, feminists should be considering these legal alternatives, while the Court teeters in the balance.
    Synonyms
    seesaw, veer, fluctuate, oscillate, swing, alternate, waver

Phrases

teeter on the brink (or edge)

Be very close to a difficult or dangerous situation: the country teetered on the brink of civil war
More example sentences
  • Village shops continued to close while others teetered on the brink although community-owned shops, Internet retailing and home delivery schemes were becoming more popular.
  • It's certainly ambitious and unusual, a traditional story told in a bravura, experimental style, which at times is hilarious but at others teeters on the edge of tedium.
  • It teeters on the brink of journalistic disloyalty.

Origin

mid 19th century: variant of dialect titter, from Old Norse titra 'shake, shiver'.

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