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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

teeter

verb
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADVERB
on
▪ He was teetering on the brink of something serious.
▪ Instead Ralph pressed his fingers together and let the girl teeter on.
■ NOUN
brink
▪ A moment later, realising she was teetering on the brink of self-pity, she brought herself up short.
▪ The banking structure seemed to teeter on the brink of ruin.
▪ By the time we are all set to go to a club I am teetering on the brink.
▪ That was plainly evident in the locker room, where Hostetler teetered on the brink of openly losing his temper.
▪ He says that the country is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
▪ He was teetering on the brink of something serious.
▪ She had long teetered on the brink.
▪ The back row, from about the third day of classes on, teetered on the brink of chaos.
edge
▪ We are teetering on the edge of farce.
▪ Wednesday morning, during an hourlong session with reporters, Forbes appeared to be teetering on the edge of folding his campaign.
▪ Now he was teetering on the edge of the parapet.
▪ As the piece opens, he is in an internment camp, and she is teetering on the edge of madness.
▪ It is a dangerous moment, pregnant with hope teetering on the edge of despair.
▪ If it were as bad as its critics contend, our society would be teetering on the edge of extinction.
▪ He meant: to me, at the department store, and I felt myself teeter on the edge of something.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ And rather than treading the boards ... they were teetering two feet above them.
▪ As the piece opens, he is in an internment camp, and she is teetering on the edge of madness.
▪ Gilling's ability to teeter between fantasy and plausibility recalls Dickens.What he imagines is equal to anything Prospero might have conjured.
▪ If it were as bad as its critics contend, our society would be teetering on the edge of extinction.
▪ Invariably our toes are unnaturally cramped into odd-shaped shoes and the feet raised because we choose to teeter around in high heels!
▪ The kegs shifted, teetered, fell!
▪ Wednesday morning, during an hourlong session with reporters, Forbes appeared to be teetering on the edge of folding his campaign.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Teeter

Teeter \Tee"ter\, v. i. & t. [imp. & p. p. Teetered; p. pr. & vb. n. Teetering.] [Prov. E. titter to tremble, to seesaw; cf. Icel. titra to tremble, OHG. zittar[=o]n, G. zittern.] To move up and down on the ends of a balanced plank, or the like, as children do for sport; to seesaw; to titter; to titter-totter. [U. S.]

[The bobolink] alit upon the flower, and teetered up and down.
--H. W. Beecher.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

teeter

1843, "to seesaw," alteration of Middle English titter "move unsteadily," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse titra "to shake, shiver, totter, tremble," from Proto-Germanic *ti-tra- (cognates: German zittern "to tremble"). Meaning "move unsteadily, be on the edge of imbalance" is from 1844. Noun teeter-totter "see-saw" is attested from 1905 (earlier simply teeter, 1855, and titter-totter in same sense is from 1520s). Totter (n.) "board swing" is recorded from late 14c.; see totter (v.).

WordNet

teeter

v. move unsteadily, with a rocking motion [syn: seesaw, totter]

Wiktionary

teeter

vb. To tilt back and forth on an edge.

Usage examples of "teeter".

She tasted herself on his handsit was arousing as all heck, but she was teetering on the edge of hysteria certainly not a good time to be thinking about a twofer.

There were some astonishing buildings on the skylinefairytale, spires wrapped in the lace of white balconies, a great pearshaped dome of sparkling blue tile, a teetering cuboid fantasy of tinted glass and dressed stone, something like a shimmering sphere divided like the segments of an orange into freestanding slices.

Barmaids scurried from table to table, balancing wooden steins on teetering trays, serving rowdy customers, fending passes, keeping up with the orders.

Ferdy was stretching his arms to balance his two hundred pounds of compact flab, teetering along the gangway like a circus elephant balancing on a tub.

A dry wind had come up from the south and in the eucalyptus trees the grackles teetered and screamed.

At last, by determination and luck, in that state where a dribble of seminal fluid has already appeared and control teeters in the balance, he acceded to her entrails.

He stood behind Jammy and steadied the chair each time it teetered too far back.

He took a few wobbly steps towards Falsh, Kameez still teetering alarmingly above him.

Adonis the car slithered down a sloping piece of ground, teetered over a low bank, and splashed logily into water.

A whole string of Spanish horses had to be coaxed down a gangplank, teetering riskily even when someone suggested they be blindfolded.

Meanwhile -- for when a missile has reached that infinitesimal point after which descent begins, it hesitates for a moment, and pretends to stand still -- while then the pocket-knife stands still at its zenith, Amsel tears his gaze away from the object that has reached this infinitesimal point and once more -- the object is already falling quickly fitfully, because now more exposed to the head wind, riverward -- has his eye on his friend Matern who is still teetering on the ball of his foot and his toes sockless in high shoe, holding his right hand high and far from his body, while his left arm steers and tries to keep him in balance.

Monsieur Saume stood, his hat in his hand, and Nanice teetered on a chair as if afraid it must be dirtying her skirt.

A springy bundle of cypress teetered, then tipped like an unfolding set of shears and swan-dived onto the pavement.

Instead, Alan caught himself on the peeled sisal pole that held up one corner of a booth, swung on it and felt the booth teeter, sending a trayful of small oranges flowing over the floor like billiard balls.

For a moment his mind teetered at an extremity, ready to pitch forward into an abysmal madness or fall back stunned to a skyey lucidity.