Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A long plank balanced on a central fulcrum so that with a person riding on each end, one end goes up as the other goes down.
  • noun The act or game of riding a seesaw.
  • noun A back-and-forth or up-and-down movement.
  • noun An action or process in which something repeatedly changes from one condition or situation to another.
  • intransitive verb To play on a seesaw.
  • intransitive verb To move back and forth or up and down.
  • intransitive verb To change back and forth from one condition or situation to another.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To move as in the see-saw; move backward and forward, or upward and downward; teeter: literally or figuratively.
  • To cause to move or act in a see-saw manner.
  • noun A motion of a steam-engine governor which oscillates on both sides of its mean or neutral position and causes the speed of rotation of the engine to vary above and below the mean.
  • noun A sport in which two children sit one at each end of a board or long piece of timber balanced on some support, and move alternately up and down.
  • noun A board adjusted for this sport.
  • noun Any process resembling directly or indirectly the reciprocating motion of the see-saw.
  • noun Especially
  • noun A circular definition or proof; the definition of a word or thing by means of another which is itself defined by means of the first; the proof of a proposition by means of a premise which is itself proved from the first proposition as a premise.
  • noun In whist, the playing of two partners so that each alternately trumps a low non-trump card led by the other; a double ruff; a cross-ruff.
  • Reciprocating; reciprocal; back and forth, or up and down: as, a see-saw motion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A play among children in which they are seated upon the opposite ends of a plank which is balanced in the middle, and move alternately up and down.
  • noun A plank or board adjusted for this play.
  • noun A vibratory or reciprocating motion.
  • noun (Whist.) Same as Crossruff.
  • adjective Moving up and down, or to and fro; having a reciprocating motion.
  • transitive verb To cause to move backward and forward in seesaw fashion.
  • intransitive verb To move with a reciprocating motion; to move backward and forward, or upward and downward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A structure composed of a plank, balanced in the middle, used as a game in which one person goes up as the other goes down; a teeter-totter
  • noun a series of up-and-down movements.
  • noun a series of alternating movements or feelings
  • verb To use a seesaw.
  • verb To fluctuate
  • adjective fluctuating.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb move up and down as if on a seesaw
  • verb move unsteadily, with a rocking motion
  • noun a plaything consisting of a board balanced on a fulcrum; the board is ridden up and down by children at either end
  • verb ride on a plank

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Reduplication of saw.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably a frequentative imitative of rhythmic back-and-forth, up-and-down or zigzaging motion, such as teeter-totter, zigzag, flip-flop, ping-pong, etc., under the umbrella term of reduplication; also likely influenced by the verbs see and saw of either present or past tense.

Examples

  • It relies on what they term "seesaw" logic gates, which we've diagrammed below.

    Wired Top Stories

  • It's what I call the "seesaw of pain" - somebody's always getting hurt.

    MarketWatch.com - Top Stories

  • And the polls are about as steady as a seesaw, which is to say that if you pay too close attention, you could get motion sickness.

    CNN Transcript Oct 18, 2004

  • JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson I can tell you it's being described as a seesaw battle for Monrovia on this fifth day of heavy fighting.

    CNN Transcript Jul 23, 2003

  • The year 2009 could be described as a seesaw year for the newly formed English Defence League.

    Indymedia Ireland

  • In what is best described as a seesaw evening, the Crew finished down on the ground, losing the second game of the series to the Mets, 6-5, in 10 innings.

    Major League Baseball

  • In what is best described as a seesaw evening, the Crew finished down on the ground, losing the second game of the series to the Mets, 6-5, in 10 innings.

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  • In what is best described as a seesaw evening, the Crew finished down on the ground, losing the second game of the series to the Mets, 6-5, in 10 innings.

    MVN

  • 'A pretty so-called seesaw of checks finishes the game ... '

    ChessBase News

  • The groups modern research techniques, which aren't based on unreliable computer models used by non-global warming denying scientists, came up with this conclusion: After the end of the last Glacial both Hemispheres became warmer as a result of melting ice sheets, but during the last 9000 years we can identify a persistent "seesaw" pattern.

    Archive 2007-05-01

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